Idealista rejects the accusations of discrimination and racism by the Barcelona City Council

Silvia Castro Betancourt

December 23, 2019

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This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

The Barcelona City Council has initiated a file against idealista and a real estate agency for a discriminatory comment in an advertisement for a flat that could include a fine of 90,000 euros.

The open file is one of 134 currently instructed by the Ada Colau government team. But only the file against idealista has been the subject of a very wide communication campaign by the municipal team, which released a press release to all the media with very serious accusations of racism against idealista.

This communiqué was simultaneously viralized on social networks by the personal profile of the mayor, several councilors and members of the government team of the City Council and related groups with the intention of undermining the image and negatively affecting the reputation of an idealist, linking to the company with discriminatory practices and speculation.

Before the very serious accusations of the Barcelona government team, idealista has already sent a response to the file rejecting each and every one of the manifestations that were sent from the City Council.

But considering the publicity and notoriety of the campaign of discredit carried out, idealista states:

Our deepest rejection and rejection of any type of discrimination for any reason, especially those related to nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual and / or political orientation.

Idealista is without a shadow of a doubt a company committed to defending the dignity of people and in its 20 years of existence has had a constant and firm position against any discrimination. Our defense of human rights has been recognized on numerous occasions by associations and support groups for LGTBI groups, migrants and potentially vulnerable groups, such as the Transexualia prize, Baeza Diversa prize or QPrize 2019 prize, among many others. Last year TV3 made a report on Spanish companies that defend the rights of the LGTBI collective and mentions an idealist as an example.

  • Our absolute rejection of the use of public institutions and administrative procedures for discrediting without legal basis the reputation of a private company.
  • Idealista is a service of the information society, and the liability regime that applies according to current legislation, national and European jurisprudence (recent Airbnb ruling in case C-390/18, for example) establishes with character In general, we are not responsible for the information published by advertisers at your request, unless we have effective knowledge of the illegality of the content.
  • Idealista has more than 600 professionals from 19 different nationalities and a third of the company does not have Spanish nationality. Each and every one of us has been deeply hurt by the accusation of discrimination because idealista fights every day against any kind of prejudice of the thousands of advertisers who try to publish real estate with xenophobic, racist or homophobic content – for example – and that are immediately eliminated in how much is effective knowledge of them.
  • Idealista has more than 1,800,000 ads. About 30,000 ads are published every day. The automated control by the idealist of your entire database to avoid any type of discrimination is exhaustive and differential idealistic against any other support. Additionally, in the event that an ad dodges our automatic controls, the idealista team manually reviews about 1,000 daily ads that may be susceptible to discriminatory elements and proceeds to eliminate those that may be offensive. Finally, if an advertisement comes to run, we have a system that allows users to report possible cases that violate our publication rules that explicitly prohibit racist comments.
  • The quality team's job is to identify the discriminatory content – among other issues – in the comments to eliminate them immediately. In flagrant or repetitive cases, the announcement is completely withdrawn, in the most serious cases resolving the contract that links the Company with the advertiser.
  • The Barcelona City Council has not included in the notified file any specific announcement. We were only told that it was published on June 28, 2019 with certain text. They have not given us a copy of the announcement that they have provided to the media nor do they mention that the withdrawal date was July 10. As an idealist, we were very surprised that this information, which was not the subject of the file, has been provided to journalists and not made available to us as part of the procedure.
  • The announcement that allegedly has given rise to the opening of the file, which idealista has known exclusively after being disseminated in the media, was published by a real estate agency, was active for about a week and was not denounced as discriminatory by any of the approximately 600 users who saw it; that is, none of those hundreds of people activated the manual content review process because it was considered inappropriate. Nor did any agency, not even the Barcelona City Council, report the illegality of the announcement or request its withdrawal before proceeding to a sanction file and filter its content to the media.
  • Idealista makes available to any third party a general contact by form in which any individual or Administration can warn us about the discriminatory content of an advertisement. In these cases, 100% of contacts are served in less than 48 hours. Moreover, through this form, other Administrations have warned idealista about similar situations, proceeding to the immediate elimination of discriminatory content. Something that was not done or communicated by the Barcelona City Council at any time.
  • It should be clarified that the file is in the training phase, the resolution of the same has not been notified to idealista, contrary to what was stated by the mayor of Barcelona in the said tweet and members of her team, implying that the sanction is already It has been imposed. Idealista has not been fined 90,000 euros. We will continue to exercise our right of defense in all instances.
  • Idealista, in its more than 20 years of activity, has been and is a firm collaborator of the competent agencies, Bodies and State Security Forces in any alleged act of discrimination, of any kind, fraudulent or wrongful act. Idealista is always fully available to collaborate with all Administrations for compliance with current regulations and, in particular, on issues related to measures against discrimination, racism and xenophobia.
  • Idealista is firmly committed to the right of any person to have decent housing. This happens by eliminating and protecting the user from any type of discrimination. We use all the technical tools and human resources at our disposal to defend this right and guarantee a clean database of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and any type of discrimination.

Jesus Encinar, Founder of idealista, believes that:

“The Barcelona City Council tries to divert attention to its negligent housing policies that have triggered rent more than 35% since Colau is mayor. Hopefully all the energy that the mayor and her team direct to try to defame an idealista will use it to solve the serious housing problem created by the residents of Barcelona and stop looking for scapegoats and smoke screens.”

This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

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Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.