Is it a sign of success when you’re held to the same standards as the big boys? That’s the question that comes to mind as I read the Craigslist is being sued for the content in their classifieds:
Craigslist hit with lawsuit
Case contends ads on Web site violate the Fair Housing Act
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
A federal lawsuit accuses the online site Craigslist of violating fair housing laws by publishing discriminatory classified ads, reviving the question of what legal boundaries, if any, should exist for postings on the Internet.
But legal experts say the lawsuit against Craigslist, a quickly growing online network of free classified ads and forums, faces an uphill battle because of laws in place to protect online service providers.
The lawsuit, filed by a Chicago fair housing group in U.S. District Court last Friday, contends that Craigslist’s Chicago site distributed more than 100 ads that violated the federal Fair Housing Act by excluding prospective buyers or tenants on the basis of race, gender or religion.
Is this the equivalent of holding AOL responsible if I send an email out that has questionable content? I don’t know. But I will be paying attention to the outcome. So should you. It’s becoming obvious that what is written on our boards and comments and public announcement pages is going to come back to haunt us.