Cops in Petaluma, in northern California, say they are monitoring Craigslist in their attempt to crack down on public park cruising. But what happens when everyone’s Craglist M4M postings get yanked? That’s what Queerty reader Luke says is happening some 300 miles south of Petaluma in Bakersfield. Home to everyone’s favorite former State Sen. Roy Ashburn!
Indeed, Luke’s story seems to be true. This is a screenshot of Bakerfield’s anorexic looking M4M posts as of today.
Every ad that has been submitted to the Gay Male Category M4M has been flagged and removed from February 9th through February 11, 2011. Appears that a couple or so ads posted since the 11th have gotten through, but for a category that usually has a minimum of at least 50 posts per day this is really unusual. Ads posted before February 8, 2011 appear to have been gone through by someone or some group and flagged as well. It’s very apparent seeing how few ads there are after going through the different days under the M4M category.
Everyone in the gay community that uses Craigslist is talking about it. Your ad is up for a few minutes and then you receive a notice saying your ad has been flagged and then it is removed. So, I thought I would write to Craigslist to try and find an answer. I did not receive any replies other than auto responses telling me how and where to find help, which was absolutely no help.
I wrote on the Craigslist discussion forums for help as the auto response email suggested and that was no help whatsoever! I received the equivalent of gay bashing by the people that I thought were there to help.
I Googled Craigslist and easily found their public business phone number and posted it to the discussion forum under “Flagging” and the next day my account was put on what they call a “hold”. All my prior posts were removed and I can no longer use my account. It’s amazing how the messenger is the one that gets shot! Grrrrr!!
I have been unable to figure it out, but I have a feeling that the flagging of the M4M posts are from perhaps a gay hate group or religious group here in Bakersfield. The Gay Male Community in Bakersfield has been severely suffering since a local television station KBAK Channel 29 ran an undercover story about the local parks. Police have been and still are harassing any male in the park since that aired even. Even if you are sitting in your car having lunch and you are male expect an undercover police officer to approach you and it will NOT be a pleasant conversation. For a town that says they have budget problems and that is absolutely riddled with real crime (drugs, murder, gangs, assault and etc.) they have the money to assign three or four undercover police to make sure if two adult males talk in the parking lot in one of our parks they are harassed and removed from the park under threats of having their cars impounded and taken to jail!
I just don’t get it??? Why so much hate??? Talk about second class citizens, I do not believe the police in my town feel gays have any rights at all and are free game when it comes to threats/harassment.
Meanwhile, I have written Craigslist a few times trying to find out why they put my account on hold, but they have not replied. Hey, I am no angel and I am sure I have violated their terms of service in the past one way or another, however, going through ads in other cities tonight just about everyone is guilty TOS violations when it comes to reveling pictures and other minor infractions. I am sure that would be their defense for putting my account on hold. I just do not think it is fair to single anyone out, but that is not why they put a hold on my account. My account was not put on “hold” until I wrote them about the Flagging of ALL ads posted in the Gay Male Category M4M and posted their PUBLIC business phone number so others inquiring about the flagging could contact them.
Maybe it’s just more cost-effective for local law enforcement, rather than using Craigslist to figure out where guys are meeting up for anonymous sex, to simply disable the tool they use to find it.