How Much Can We Trust Web Sites Like Craigslist?


Courtesy of

Published: November 15, 2007

Craigslist has become such a popular Web site that almost all students have come to use it. With all the online ads advertising Craigslist, it has become a big hit. I have used the Web site several times. This site helps people find internships and part-time jobs, as well as full time jobs. Craig’s List also is used for romantic purposes, such as singles meeting one another and going on dates, as well as housing, discussion forums and community ads. However, a particular case in the news has created some buzz about how safe Web sites, such as Craigslist, are. A couple of weeks ago, a 24-year-old woman’s body was found in her car a day after she responded to an ad placed by someone in search of a nanny listed on Craigslist. This incident has caused a big scare for people who use the site because they now fear whether they can trust the ads they are reading. People have become more afraid because they don’t want situations like this to happen to them.

The truth is, unfortunately, you cannot fully trust information that is provided on the Internet because of the simple fact that you never know for sure who or what is sitting at the other computer screen. We shouldn’t blame Craigslist for the tragic death of that 24-year-old woman, but her death should make us all more aware of what we do.

For instance, if you are responding to an ad and the situation requires that you meet with someone in person, you should always take another person with you. Never go alone—there is safety in numbers. The world today is full of sick individuals who will fully take advantage of Web sites such as Craigslist to lure unsuspecting individuals to them. There is no way to stop them; all we can do is try to be cautious before responding to particular ads.

I’m not saying we all must live in a state of fear and paranoia all the time, but people need to be more aware of what ads they believe are legitimate. Not everyone has ulterior motives, but the few that do make it hard for the rest of us to trust each other. If you put too much faith into a stranger, it can backfire completely.

All networking Web sites come with the risk of online predators; I mean, how many Myspace stories have we heard of some sick pedophile trying to get young girls to meet him?

The Internet is tricky business because it is hard to trust who is being genuine these days.

So the question is: can we really do something to prevent cases like this from happening?  Sadly enough, I don’t think we can; there will always be people who will believe what they read on these social networking sites; there will always be some people who believe they are getting what they see. There isn’t any way to prevent things like the murder of the 24-year-old woman because there isn’t any way to distinguish which ads we can trust and which ones we can’t. Everyone must rely on his or her own instincts and really think twice before meeting a stranger. The world just isn’t ready for social networking via Internet…and it may never be ready.