Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Craigslist: Anti-Second Amendment? Not Quite.

We all know Craigslist doesn't allow ads for firearms sales. However I just encountered something I found very interesting. Several weeks ago I posted an ad under 'Gigs' looking for like minded supporters of our Second Amendment rights to come on board as contributors of the Second Amendment Journal. The ad was in no way harassing or threatening in any way. There was nothing illegal about the ad, I didn't even publish a link to the site. Tonight I was shocked when I received an email from Craigslist informing me that my ad was flagged and removed for violating the terms of service. As I sat scratching my head, I went back to read the ad. I have posted the exact text below:

"I run a pro-second amendment blog called the Second Amendment Journal. Currently it is mainly an opinion blog from my perspective and I try to keep up with a few posts a week. I am looking for like minded supporters of our right to keep and bear arms to contribute to the blog through opinion articles, news reports, and even gun reviews, or firearms tips. Ideally I would like someone who would write at a minimum two posts per week. Right now the blog doesn't generate any revenue so the gig would be simply on a volunteer basis. You will receive credit on all your posts. In the future if the blog begins to generate advertisement revenue and NRA referrals I would be willing to share some of the revenue with my contributors. If you are interested or would like to take a look at the blog, shoot me an email and I will get back to you as soon as possible."

With the ad fresh in my mind I proceeded to check out Craigslist's Terms of Use. Section 4A covers postings. It states that postings are intended as a local service and users are allowed to post only in their geographical area. It also goes on to state that similar content cannot be posted in multiple categories. Considering I had one ad posted in writing gigs, I didn't violate that term.

Prior to section 4 under section 3A Craigslist covers content. This is where we get into the nitty gritty of what really isn't allowed on the site. To make things simple, this is exactly what the site states:

"Content prohibited from craigslist includes but is not limited to: (1) illegal content; (2) content in facilitation of the creation, advertising, distribution, provision or receipt of illegal goods or services; (3) offensive content (including, without limitation, defamatory, threatening, hateful or pornographic content); (4) content that discloses another's personal, confidential or proprietary information; (5) false or fraudulent content (including but not limited to false, fraudulent or misleading responses to user ads transmitted via craigslist); (6) malicious content (including, without limitation, malware or spyware); (7) content that offers, promotes, advertises, or provides links to posting or auto-posting products or services, account creation or auto-creation products or services, flagging or auto-flagging products or services, bulk telephone numbers, or any other product or service that if utilized with respect to craigslist would violate these TOU or CL's other legal rights; and (8) content that offers, promotes, advertises or provides links to unsolicited products or services. Other content prohibitions are set forth in guidelines for particular categories or services on craigslist and all such prohibitions are expressly incorporated into these TOU as stated in section 1 above."

None of which pertained to my ad. So after my initial investigation I still had no understanding of why my post was removed for a legitimate writing gig. Then I read this and realized what was going on:

A user shall not "flag" (or otherwise seek removal of) content on craigslist without a personal, good-faith belief that the content violates the TOU. A user may flag content only on his/her own behalf. A user must not permit, enable, induce or encourage others to flag content for them. A user must not flag content for others."

There you have it. Craigslist did not flag my post themselves, but instead a Craigslist user who clearly is anti-gun did. In an attempt to silence me and others from speaking out against gun control they flagged my post, thus removing it from the site. It shouldn't surprise me as I have received hate emails from similar individuals in response to the ad.

Since I cannot find a single reason why my ad was removed from the site I will be contacting Craigslist directly regarding the matter. I'm interested to see what their response will be, if any. If Craigslist has any sense of constitutionality, they will allow my ad to return to the site and punish the user who wrongly flagged my ad. My guess is nothing will come about it, but I will not let censorship stop me from my mission of protecting our inalienable right to keep and bear arms. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Here is a copy of the email I sent to Craigslist regarding the matter (Less the copy of the ad which is in the article above). I am currently awaiting their response.

    "The ad below was flagged and removed despite the fact that it violated NO terms of use. The ad is for writers who support the second amendment and was posted under gigs. Nothing more, nothing less. The word gun and firearm appear in it only to describe types of articles to be written. It is clear that this was flagged by someone who does not support gun rights and I want something done about it. This act was intentional and intended to censor my mission. There is nothing harassing or threatening about my ad. I understand your right to not allow ads for the sale of firearms. However my ad is not selling anything, let alone weapons. This is an injustice, and if Craigslist supports the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in any way, you will look into this matter and correct it. I await your response. Thank you for your quick response."

  2. As you may have guessed by now Craigslist never responded to my inquiry and my ad was never put back up. Although I originally stated that a user flagged me so Craigslist wasn't necessarily anti-gun, I feel that the owners of the site may very well be liberal anti-gunners. Guess we will never know.