Friday, September 08, 2006

Sex Baiting Prank on Craigslist Affects Hundreds

Andy Baio writes over on

Recently, a blogger named Simon Owens ran a social experiment on Craigslist. He wandered into the "Casual Encounters" section of the personal ads where countless men and women were soliticing for no-strings-attached sex and wondered, Is it really that easy? As a test, he composed several ads with different permutations of assumed identity and sexual orientation: straight/bi men/women looking for the opposite/same sex. He then posted it to New York, Chicago, and Houston, and tallied the results.

Overwhelmingly and instantly, the ads from the fake women looking for male partners were inundated with responses, sometimes several per minute. All the other ads received lukewarm responses, at best. These results weren't surprising, but some of the observations were... Many of these men used their real names and included personally identifiable information, including work email addresses and home phone numbers. Several admitted they were married and cheating on their spouses. Many included photos, often nude.

His first conclusion was very reasonable: "If a really malicious person wanted to get on craigslist and ruin a lot of people's lives, he easily could."

More here.


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