Get used to seeing racially charged apartment ads on SF-based Craigslist that say things like “No minorities”, “African Americans and Arabians tend to clash with me so that won’t work out” or “Non-women of Color NEED NOT APPLY.” Legal experts interviewed by the Associated Press say that it will be difficult to get a court to require Craig Newmark (pictured) of Craigslist to edit those ads before they are posted. The AP story is in response to a lawsuit filed by fair housing advocates in Chicago, who want online apartment sites to edit out racially offensive language before the ads are posted — like newspapers are now required to do by federal law. Steve Outing, writing for Poynter online says the issue comes down to whether Craigslist is a publisher in the newspaper sense of the word or just a common carrier, like a phone company. Bloggers believe that the anti-discrimination laws that apply to newspapers shouldn’t apply to the web. Craigslist has issued its own statement explaining what it is doing about the complaints. [SIDEBAR: Paul Harris of the Guardian of London attempts to answer the question: Who is Craig Newmark?]

SF Press Club News


  1. newspapers ought to concede that classifieds are gone and stop attacking craig (or anyone else who provides a better service).

  2. Craig insists that he’s concerned about discriminatory ads and is trying to educate his users. But he’s not so concerned that he would spend the $$$ necessary to screen the ads before they’re posted. A reporter writing this story should call some African American leaders/organizations and see what they say about the ads and Craig’s response.

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