In a week when Big Tech took a stand against the alleged attempts to overthrow the US democratic system, Airbnb has now says it doesn’t want insurrectionists staying in its listed properties.
Amid huge concerns of more violence and rioting ahead of Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in Washington D.C. on January 20, the short-term rental company is seeking to prevent agitators having a cosy little place to use as a base, while they take part in the subversion of democracy.
Firstly, Airbnb is currently attempting to weed out users who took part in last week’s shocking and deadly riots at the United States Capitol building. That involves banning users and cancelling current reservations in D.C.
In a blog post outlining a seven-point plan, Airbnb says: “When we learn through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we investigate whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb. This includes cross-referencing the January 6 arrest logs of D.C. Metro Police. If the individuals have an Airbnb account, we take action, which includes banning them from using Airbnb.”
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The startup, which is now listed on the US stock market, says it is also reviewing its existing reservations to ensure those guests are not associated with hate groups, or have promoted criminal or violent activity. Those reservations will be cancelled and the account banned.
Airbnb also says it is boosting its security requirements and now requiring users to to verify their identity with a government-issued ID card. These may be used to run further background checks on the individuals making the bookings in the US capital.
Furthermore, Airbnb said it will take legal action against guests if they learn they are members of hate groups, is calling on the host communities to report suspected policy violations and is providing a 24/7 hotline for those next door to Airbnb properties to bring issues to the company’s attention.
The firm says: “Dating back to the tragic events around Charlottesville in 2017, Airbnb has applied Trust and Safety defenses in order to combat violent and discriminatory hate groups. To that end, on an ongoing basis, Airbnb has removed people from the platform associated with violent hate groups in advance of specific events, including taking action ahead of the horrific attack on Congress, by cancelling reservations and removing accounts associated with hate group members, including Proud Boys.”
The action comes after social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram suspended the presidents accounts, while others threw off those users and content deemed to be spreading dangerous conspiracy theories. The right wing social network Parler was also dumped from the Amazon Web Services platform that hosted it this week.