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Free Expression

The “Killer App” That Really Isn’t

It’s troubling that the Internet and the wonderfully innovative service known as Craigslist have been cast as major players in the recent tragedy of a young woman’s death. Just because the alleged killer found his victim by trolling the adult ads section of Craigslist, the media has hung the nickname “the Craigslist Killer” on him. The clever alliteration aside, the brutal truth is that neither the Internet nor Craigslist have anything substantive to do with this case. As CDT President Leslie Harris’ Huffington Post column, titled “Because ‘Classified Ad Killer’ Doesn’t Have the Same Ring,'” points out today:

The danger of this alarmist, tabloid response to all-things-Internet, is not only that it needlessly frightens people away from using safe, effective Internet tools, but that it undermines the tremendous social and economic value that innovative Internet communities like Craigslist, MySpace and Facebook have created for users around the world.

One day soon, we can only hope, we’ll stop treating the Internet like it’s anything other than the incredibly open, innovative and collaborative productivity tool that it really is.