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San Franciscos Flagged Craigslist Site: Why Violations -Personal Ads Are NOT Changing

Updated on February 14, 2011


Craiglist is community-based site on the Internet. Started in San Francisco in 1995, Craigslist is the ultimate site for classified listings. It offers job advertisements, personal ads, ads for cars, pets, home supplies and sex.

Did I write sex? Yes I did and it's no secret..

Craigslist is no stranger to trouble when it comes to it's services section. "Erotic Services" as it was once displayed would attract prostitutes, human trafficking and child porn. In 2009, they closed the ES section, replacing it with an adult services section. In September of 2010, Craigslist closed the adult services section of its website. The site replaced the page link with the word "censored" in white-on-black text. Not long after the "censored" label was completely removed from the site. It appears as if Craigslist goes out of their way to find a section for such activity? Just a thought.

You would think that by removing the section it would stop the problem, but it appears that these "people" and their "services" have just moved to another option. I was curious to find if these advertisements really disappeared or if they still exist. So I clicked on the personals.

Warning and Disclaimer

To enter the personals, you don't need to register. Nope. Not a name, age...nothing. Just click and enter. But to prevent children from entering, Craigslist does offer a Warning and Disclaimer page.

First, you must be 18 years old. You must understand that the site may include adult content. You must agree to flag inappropriate content or photos (shouldn't they be screening this?) and finally, "by clicking on the links below, I release Craigslist from any liability that may arise from my use of this site."

Well, that should stop anyone under 18, right? Wrong.

The disclaimer page is also kind enough (sarcasm) to advise safe sex to avoid STD's and HIV. Sex from Personals?

So I looked deeper. It didn't take long as the titles spoke for themselves! Thinking I would find the typical 'nice girl looking for honest man' advertisements, you can't imagine my surprise and disgust to find photos of mens 'private areas' with very descriptive wants and services. Women laying exposed to offer their time. I was appalled! I won't print what they said because I know Google and Hubpages would flag me just for writing them (thank you HP and Google for being responsible), but they definitely left no question of the writers intent.


It is not an exaggeration to say that within the first minute or so I flagged at least 20 ads by the title alone. I went back 4 days later to see if the ads had been removed.


Still there, still disgusting.

I investigated further into the "flagging" procedure to find that "a post/ad will be removed only if a post receives enough negative flags". Items are flagged for three categories: misplaced, prohibited, or spam/overpost. Well this is a problem considering Craigslist does not state how many negative flags it takes or even if or how a post gets reviewed for removal.

Craiglsit states, that the"flagging system allows Craigslist users to identify inappropriate postings for speedy removal, while preserving everyone’s ability to express themselves."

I'm sorry Craigslist, but from what I saw and flagged, that's not an expression, that's erotica. And it's up to the readers of Craigslist to distinguish from good and bad? That is truley irresponsible.

Be in Control

It is infuriating to me that the owner of Craigslist allow such filth and corrupt, destructive and dangerous activity on his site. He is taking no responsibilities or actions to prevent it and therefore it will remain.

As long as those type of activities and services exist, they will find a way into our systems. But we do have some control. If you see something inappropriate, flag it. If you read or see an ad that makes you question it's intent, flag. And by all means- if a child is the target or product? Flag it again and report it to the National Child Abuse Network or your local Police.

The victims may not have a voice, but you do.


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