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Does Craigslist Track Flaggers?

By Nicole Martinez, eHow Contributor

Craigslist Auto PosterThe online classified advertisement website Craigslist relies on a community moderating system known as flagging to recognize and remove inappropriate posts. While Craigslist monitors accounts that receive many flags, it is unclear whether the same applies to those who create flags or abuse the system. Furthermore, Craigslist has no official stance on punishment for this abuse, which can be frustrating for legitimate posters who are wrongfully flagged.

  1. Flagging

    • On Craigslist, flagging is the action of reporting ad listings that do not comply with the terms of service. For example, misplaced ads can be flagged because the creator posted them in the wrong category. Visitors can also flag entries that have been overposted, are commercial or spammy. Flagging is also how you report any ad that posts a person's personal, identifying information without his consent, or false or misleading posts, among other unacceptable content. Flagging is generally a helpful system to remove ads that are inappropriate or unhelpful and you do not have to be logged in to Craigslist to flag a listing.

    Flagging Abuse

    • Some users of Craigslist may attempt to manipulate the system by flagging posts that do meet the terms of service. When a post receives enough flags, the system automatically deletes it. Thus, competitors can attempt to remove an ad by flagging it multiple times. Users may simply flag ads that they don't like or ads that someone else has posted more recently, in an attempt to move their ad to the top of the list. You may want Craigslist to track flaggers for any of these reasons; However, Craigslist's terms of service does not state whether general abuse of the flagging system is prohibited nor whether the service tracks flaggers in an attempt to thwart abuse of the system.

    Flagging Terms

    • Craigslist does forbid the use of any computer program that automatically flags posts, as opposed to manual flagging performed by a human. The ban of autoflaggers is the only flagging mention on the website's terms of service. While Craigslist does track accounts with multiple flagged ads, and may choose to ban those accounts, the website does not explicitly state whether people using autoflaggers are tracked. Furthermore, the terms of service do not state what may happen to any user who does this or otherwise abuses the flagging service unethically.

    Dealing with Flags

    • Unfortunately, there is no way to deter fraudulent flagging if they are effectively removing your posts from Craigslist. Previously, Craigslist did allow posts with URLs and some users relied on this to insert tracking codes from statistics websites in an attempt to monitor flagging activity. However, Craigslist no longer allows this HTML in ad posts on the website. The Craigslist email you receive when your post has been flagged encourages you to repost your ad after 48 hours. If you are positive that your add abides by the terms of service, feel free to repost it. Neverthess, you may continue to be flagged and have posts removed. Note that Craigslist may remove heavily flagged accounts.

    [[blockquote style="border: 0px; overflow:auto; width:100%; margin:0; padding:0;"]]

    Nicole Martinez

    Nicole Martinez began writing in 2010 and has since been published on various websites. She primarily writes about computer- and internet-related topics, especially those concerning website maintenance and programming.

    [[/blockquote]]

    References

    Via eHow.com

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