Vox Populi

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Recently testified before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, as part of a public hearing on the sale of sensitive military equipment on the internet.

It was a great learning experience, and we look forward to working more closely with the experts to provide craigslist users with better information as to what is and is not allowed to be sold.

Intriguingly though, of the organizations represented in this hearing, including the Department of Defense (which sells military surplus online), Ebay, and craigslist, it seemed evident to the Members of Congress (and everyone else in the room), that craigslist was already doing the best job of keeping sale of the items in question at bay, despite our small staff.

Had occasion to touch on this during the opening statements:

“Contrary to what the GAO report implies, craigslist has more people actively engaged in its anti-fraud efforts than any web site on earth. In addition to our in-house anti-fraud team numbering a dozen or more staff members, and the automated blocking and screening routines we have developed, craigslist benefits from tens of millions of passionate users diligently reviewing every ad on the site, with each user having the power to delete inappropriate ads, which power they exercise to the tune of several million ads removed each month. To their credit, the GAO investigators did notice that questionable ads were actually being removed from craigslist as they searched the site, an observation they did not make about any other site in their report.”

When it comes to site moderation on a massive scale, it’s difficult for a centralized staff of any size to compete with the efforts of tens of millions of vigilant and empowered users.


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