As we approach the Presidential Inauguration, we are providing an update on the steps we are taking to help protect our community of hosts and guests in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
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.
In advance of the Inauguration, we are expanding and enhancing our Trust and Safety defense systems. Today we’re announcing our Capitol Safety Plan – a 7-step plan to help build trust and assist with protecting the greater D.C. community.
These overall steps include:
- Banning Individuals Identified as Involved in Criminal Activity at the Capitol: 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.
- Review of D.C. Area Reservations: We are reviewing reservations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. If we confirm that any guests are associated with a hate group or otherwise not allowed on our platform for violating certain community policies prohibiting violence or engaging in criminal activity, we will cancel those reservations and ban them from Airbnb.
- Booking Requirements: All US residents seeking to book an Airbnb listing must first successfully verify their identity – at times being required to provide their government ID to prove that they are who they say they are. This helps prevent hate group members from hiding behind fake identities.
- Additional Security Checks: Airbnb already runs background checks on all US users when they first begin using the platform, and if additional information comes to light under the Capitol Safety Plan we may re-run background checks or assess against other publicly available sources or databases.
- Guest Engagement and Legal Action: We will be communicating to all booking guests to the Capitol Region that if we learn that they or their additional guests are members of hate groups, planning violence or violating our policies or terms of service, we may bring legal action against them.
- Engaging Our Host Community: Members of hate groups are never welcome on Airbnb and we have previously taken action to remove these individuals from the Airbnb community. We are reminding our host community via email and notifications in our app that if they suspect violations of this policy, they can reach trained crisis staff by calling our Urgent Safety Line.
- Neighbor Support: We have a neighbor support line at airbnb.com/neighbors to connect with Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland neighbors directly if they need to bring issues with reservations to our attention. It includes a 24/7 hotline overseen by highly trained staff.
We will continue to operate with as much transparency as possible regarding the development of our Trust and Safety defenses to combat hate group members whose behavior and conduct violates our Community Standards and Community Commitment.