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In the two decades since, that stigma has lessened; 15 per cent of adults report that they've used online dating sites or apps. But as of Friday, the site's personal ads no longer exist. Never fear: The site's Missed Connections ads, which make for some of the internet's best voyeuristic reading, will remain - in the community section.
As a result, Craigslist decided to remove its personal-ad section, posting the following statement: "Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness! What is a note about happy couples doing in a move made in response to a bill to fight sex trafficking?
Well, this is the vast possibility and danger of Craigslist. For decades, it's been the place where someone might find the perfect or most horrible roommate; a steal of a couch or total piece of junk; casual sex or even a spouse.
One of my oldest childhood friends, for example, posted a Craigslist ad back in the mids and met her husband. Now they're expecting their second child! But answer the wrong ad, and there's a risk of being raped, murdered or falling into a sex-trafficking ring. As these ads go offline, we spoke to a year-old man in New York who used Craigslist's personal ads - specifically the casual encounters section - as a way of finding casual sex in his early 20s.
He spoke to us on condition of anonymity, because, well, that's what Craigslist personals were all about. It's part of what made them successful, he thinks. Unlike dating apps that often require being linked to a social media account, on Craigslist you could be nameless and Facebook-less.