Barcelona Judge Rules That idealista Is Not Responsible for 2019 Racist Listing

November 2, 2022
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A judge in Barcelona has ruled in favour of the Spanish portal company idealista over accusations of discrimination from the city's municipal government dating from 2019.

The case is related to a rental listing which appeared on the portal in 2019 which stated in the description that it was "only for Spanish people". The listing was seen by some 600 users before it was taken down. Barcelona's municipal authorities fined both the portal company and the listing agency €90,000.

The municipality's legal basis for the fine rested on whether idealista was to be considered a mediating agency. The ruling from October 2022 is very much on the portal's side on this point, with a court document stating that idealista is a "meeting point" and a "neutral and passive" party in the transaction.

"It is the users who directly publish their listings and in no case could [idealista] actively mediate between two persons or carry out any active conduct [in the transaction]. In effect, the platform does not publish anything, it is the users that do. The platform carries out electronic intermediation which is not to be confused with the intermediation carried out by agents."

The court's verdict also stated that Barcelona's municipal authority did not comply with the law in not asking the portal to take down the listing before issuing the fine.

The ruling validates idealista's position that it is not legally responsible for the content uploaded by users and is a victory for the portal in its back-and-forth legal battle with Barcelona's city authorities. Idealista has butted heads with the municipal government on eight separate dockets over the last few years and with the latest ruling is now 2-0 up on the scorecard. The portal stated, via its own news site, that it expects to win the remaining six cases in the next few months.

Idealista co-founder Fernando Encinar was in no doubt that the court cases against the portal were part of an orchestrated campaign by the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau and her Barcelona en Comú party to cause reputational damage.

 

November 2, 2022
Edmund got to know the world of portals and marketplaces working at Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect after the buyout in 2018). He worked directly with hundreds of portals across the world in his role in the content department for three and a half years before transferring to the SEO department to understand the inner workings of listings sites. He joined Online Marketplaces as Head of Content in March 2020.

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