“Group of Investors looking for experienced carpenter to build over-sized catapult sturdy enough to fling Rush Limbaugh all the way to Costa Rica and help him make good on his promise to leave the country if the health care reform bill became law.”
Archive for the ‘Philanthropy’ Category
Trying to ascertain the relative scale of the various relief efforts ongoing in Haiti, with an eye toward directing charitable contributions.
Dear South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster,
Two days ago you accused craigslist, and me personally, of engaging in criminal acts, reiterating your previous threat to file unwarranted and unconstitutional charges against us that are clearly barred by federal law. As you put it, “We have no alternative but to move forward with criminal investigation and potential prosecution.”
These very serious allegations followed the dramatic changes we implemented last week, widely applauded by other Attorneys General, that go far beyond the policies and procedures you yourself personally endorsedjust 6 months ago, as indicated by your signature on the Joint Statement.
Many prominent companies, including AT&T, Microsoft, and Village Voice Media, not to mention major newspapers and other upstanding South Carolina businesses feature more “adult services” ads than does craigslist, some of a very graphic nature. For a small sampling, look (careful NSFW)here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.
Have you fully considered the implications of your accusations against craigslist? What’s a crime for craigslist is clearly a crime for any company. Are you really prepared to condemn the executives of each of the mainstream companies linked above, and all the others that feature such ads, as criminals? craigslist may not matter in your world view, despite our popularity among your constituents, but mightn’t you want an endorsement from any of the SC newspapers for your gubenatorial campaign, whose publishers you’ve just labeled as criminals? Do you really intend to launch a criminal investigation against the phone company? What about potential new jobs connected to big data center buildouts in SC by Internet companies? Are you *sure* you want to prosecute all of their CEOs as criminals???
If you are threatening our founder Craig Newmark, a board member with no operational role at craigslist other than as a customer service representative, then you are expanding your list of “criminal suspects” to include thousands of employees at the above-named companies, or the companies’ boards of directors, or both.
Mr McMaster, I strongly recommend you reconsider and retract your remarks, and positively affirm that you have no intention of launching criminal investigations aimed at any of these upstanding companies, because in truth none of them are deserving of such treatment. Certainly when it comes to craigslist, by any objective standard your threats and accusations are unreasonable and unfair:
- threats of criminal prosecution are utterly unwarranted by the facts
- the charges threatened are unconstitutional and barred by federal law
- our adult ad screening regimen is stricter than the one you endorsed
- our adult services ads are fewer and tamer than other SC venues
We’re willing to accept our share of criticism, but wrongfully accusing craigslist of criminal misconduct is simply beyond the pale. We would very much appreciate an apology at your very earliest convenience. As I’m sure would all of the other fine companies whose executives you’ve called out as criminals.
As of today for all US craigslist sites, postings to the “erotic services” category will no longer be accepted, and in 7 days the category will be removed.
Unsurprisingly, but completely contrary to some of the sensationalistic journalism we’ve seen these past few weeks, the record is clear that use of craigslist classifieds is associated with far lower rates of violent crime than print classifieds, let alone rates of violent crime pertaining to American society as a whole.
The relative safety of craigslist compared to print classifieds is likely due to some combination of:
- Measures such as blocking, screening, and telephone verification
- Community moderation via our flagging system
- Electronic trail ensures violent criminals are quickly caught
- Personal safety tips prominently posted
- Unusually high level of cooperation with law enforcement
Community moderation as exemplified by our flagging system is arguably the most successful system ever conceived for eliminating inappropriate activity from a massive internet community. Working in tandem with various other protective technologies, it is an inescapable force to be reckoned with for anyone set on abusing free internet communications across a broad array of posting types.
However, with respect to this new paid category for advertising by legal businesses, we will experiment with some of the methods traditionally employed in paid print classifieds.
We’d like to thank everyone who has provided helpful input over the past few weeks, all of which was closely considered:
- Our users, whose suggestions shape every aspect of craigslist
- Attorneys General, who provided valuable constructive criticism
- Law Enforcement officers nationwide, hugely supportive as always
- Legally compliant businesses wishing to advertise their services
- EFF and other experts defending free speech and Internet law
We are optimistic that the new balance struck today will be an acceptable compromise from the perspective of these constituencies, and for the diverse US communities that value and rely upon craigslist.
Note: Our announced intention to contribute 100% of net revenues for the “erotic services” category to charity has been fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled, notwithstanding criticism questioning our good faith in this regard. However, in light of today’s changes, and to avoid any future misunderstanding, we are making no representation regarding how revenue from the “adult services” category will be used. Our commitment to philanthropy remains, and craigslist will continue to develop its charitable initiatives.
We appreciate the messages of support we have been receiving on the tragedy that has unfolded in Boston. Many have asked us what they can do to help. One of the best ways is to spread the word regarding personal safety precautions that can help make using craigslist (and the Internet as a whole) even safer.
In this regard we ask everyone to check out the memorial concert in Minneapolis on May 3rd, “A Tribute to Katherine,” in memory of Katherine Ann Olson. craigslist is honored to join with the Olson family in celebrating the life of their daughter, and and in keeping her spirit alive through aninternational scholarship program that has been founded in her name. You can download a tribute album for Katherine put together by the artists who will be performing at this concert on the LP33 website .
We share the belief expressed by the Olson family, that when the darkness comes upon us we need to band together, and we encourage everyone to join them in letting Katherine’s light shine.
The early results from the collaborative joint effort announced last November between craigslist, 43 US Attorneys General, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) have been spectacular, and we have been remiss in not saying more about them.
Here is a graph of the posting volume trend in “erotic services” over the past 12 months, as we added measures like phone verification (March) and credit card authorization (November) to the site:
The percentage reductions for the 5 cities shown range from 90% to 95%
In this same timespan, craigslist staff have continued to work closely with law enforcement agencies across the country to vigorously pursue those engaged in the horrific crimes of human trafficking and exploitation of minors.
Finally, net revenue is accumulating from the fees now required of those posting under “erotic services,” 100% of which is earmarked for donation to worthy charities, and we will soon be in position to begin distributing these funds.
Our collaboration with the state Attorneys General and NCMEC has only just begun, and there will be more progress and good works to announce in the months and years to come.
Team Craigslist AKA “Rigshock Riders” fielded 25 cyclists for yesterday’s Tour de Cure ride in Napa Valley, raising over $50,000 toward finding a cure for diabetes.
It’s a cause near and dear to our hearts — 2 of our 25 staff are diabetic, and our longtime PR maven Susan MacTavish Best is the granddaughter of Charles Best, co-discover of insulin.
Here are a couple shots of the craigslist peloton from the rear — reportedly the only vantage available to the other teams participating:
Here’s part of the team relaxing (oops am told this pic is from last year’s ride, pre-jerseys, duh), and Sean Knox, one of our sys admins, who has organized our charitable rides for 2 years running:
Kudos, Congratulations and Thanks to all who participated!