Attorney General Says Craigslist Agrees to End Erotic Ads

Craigslist has repeatedly defended itself, saying relatively little crime takes place through the site. In a statement released Wednesday, Craigslist said, "Unsurprisingly, but completely contrary to some of the sensationalistic journalism we've seen these past few weeks, the record is clear that use of Craigslist classifieds is associated with far lower rates of violent crime than print classifieds, let alone rates of violent crime pertaining to American society as a whole."

Craigslist signed an agreement in November with more than 40 attorneys general in which Craigslist said it would take a number of steps to combat online prostitution, including charging people who post ads in the "erotic services" section $5 to $10 and requiring them to submit a working phone number to use the site. The information can be used by law enforcement to investigate suspected illegal activity.

The attorneys general have argued that the company was not living up to its end of the bargain and was not doing enough to keep pornography and prostitution off the site.

'Craigslist Killer' Prompts Scrutiny of Site

The company came under pressure from law enforcement after several high-profile alleged crimes appeared to stem from advertisements on the site.

Philip Markoff, 23, is suspected of using Craigslist to lure three women to upscale hotels, where he allegedly robbed them and killed one of them. Investigators believe Markoff contacted the women through Craigslist ads in which they offered erotic massages. Markoff, who has been dubbed the "Craigslist Killer" by the media, has pleaded not guilty.

Earlier this month, Michael John Anderson, 20, of Savage, Minn., was sentenced to life in prison for killing Katherine Ann Olson, who had responded to an ad for a nanny that Anderson placed on the site. And New York radio reporter George Weber was stabbed 50 times in his Brooklyn apartment earlier this year, allegedly murdered by a man who answered Weber's ad on Craigslist, offering $60 for "rough sex."

Craigslist Changes Course on 'Erotic Services'

In an interview last month with ABC News, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark denied that the site "facilitates" prostitution and said he has no plans to change the "erotic services" section.

Buckmaster told "Nightline" that the Craigslist community -- about 50 million people use the site a month -- has a low incidence of crime. "Now, the risk is not zero, and no occurrence of violent crime is acceptable," Buckmaster said.

"I'm very proud that our site is composed of people who are overwhelmingly trustworthy and good. I am very proud that there is very little crime on our site, proportionately," Newmark said. "Compare that to any other American community. Look at the numbers."

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