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An Internet for the PeopleThe Politics and Promise of craigslist$
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Jessa Lingel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691188904

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691188904.001.0001

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From Sex Workers to Data Hacks

From Sex Workers to Data Hacks

Craigslist’s Courtroom Battles

(p.51) 3 From Sex Workers to Data Hacks
An Internet for the People

Jessa Lingel

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes two key strands of legal arguments that craigslist has repeatedly—and, for the most part, successfully—made: first, that websites cannot be held responsible for the behaviour or activities of its users, and second, that a platform's data should be protected from third parties, particularly tech companies looking to make new products. Craigslist's legal battles present a complicated picture of its politics. On the one hand, the company has shown a commitment to freedom of expression and user agency. On the other, craigslist has quashed experimentation and creativity when it comes to other parties trying to use its data, even for projects that do not compete commercially with the platform. These legal battles show what happens when craigslist's politics run up against legal complaints, exposing the platform's view of responsibility, or what it owes to its users.

Keywords:   craigslist's legal battles, craigslist's politics, legal complaints, legal arguments, freedom of expression, user agency, third parties, responsibility

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