Airbnb has announced plans to confirm every one of its around 7 million listings following a mass shooting at an Airbnb in October, along with several other security measures.
The shooting happened at a Halloween party thrown at a California Airbnb leaving five dead and asking Airbnb co-founder, CEO, and community chief Brian Chesky to declare a ban on "party houses" .
Chesky also tweeted about several other security initiatives, including the "extension of manual screening of high-risk orders" and a "dedicated" party house & # 39; quick response team ", although he was somewhat light on details.
we have a clearer idea of exactly what Airbnb's response will entail, with Chesky describing several ways the company will improve the security of its listings in an email to Airbnb employees on Wednesday.
The most notable announcement is that Airbnb aims to have every host and listing on the site verified by December 1
The New York Times & # 39; DealBook Conference on Wednesday, Chesky said verification would be done by "a combination of company and society."
"I think many of us in this industry are The last 10 years are going from a hands-off model where the internet is an immune system to realizing that it's not really enough, "Chesky said. "That we have to take more responsibility for things on our platform, and I think this has been a gradual – perhaps too gradual – transition for our industry."
If a guest checks in a list to find it does not & # 39; To meet Airbnb's standards after December 15, the company will book them to another Airbnb "of equal or greater value." If none are available, the company will instead offer a full refund.
This should at least be a little comfort for travelers flying halfway around the world just to find their Airbnb is less "cozy cabin" and more "dilapidated cabin."
Airbnb will also launch a 24-hour emergency line in the United States by the end of this year, and will be rolled out globally by 2020. The neighboring hotel will be staffed by actual people, who will undergo a training program developed under the advice of two former police officers. The fast response team will aim to deal with complaints "properly", although it is not clear exactly what they will do in the event of an unauthorized party, since they will probably not be actual police.
Finally, Airbnb announced that they will start December 15 in the US and roll out globally by 2020, manually reviewing all high-risk reservations to prevent house partying. High risk reservations will be discovered by their "risk detection models", which look at factors such as length of stay, size of property and where the guest comes from.
"So, for example, if an individual is booking a 10-room home, for that night in the city they live in, it's a very high-risk reservation," Chesky said.
"I think technology has its limits, at least technology today, and so you have to put many more people behind it in the assessment."
Vice noted in a recent report that the company's failure to adequately confirm the hosts' identity allowed fraudsters to operate uncontrollably, a problem compounded by poor customer support. Hopefully, the company's new initiatives will go some way to rectifying this, as well as making Airbnb safer overall.