Airbnb is to verify all seven million properties listed on its platform amid reports of false or misleading details being published on the home sharing site.
The move follows five people being killed and other wounded at an Airbnb property used for a Halloween party in Orinda, a suburb of San Francisco.
The firm pledged that homes will be verified for accuracy of the listing, including photos, addresses and listing details, and quality standards covering cleanliness, safety and basic home amenities.
Airbnb founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that “every home and every host on Airbnb will be reviewed with the objective of 100% verification”.
The verification process is expected to be completed by December 15.
“We believe that trust on the internet begins with verifying the accuracy of the information on internet platforms, and we believe that this is an important step for our industry,” Chesky said.
Airbnb will rebook guests a new property of equal or greater value, or they will get 100% of their money back if any listing does not meet the new accuracy standards.
Chesky added: “Most hosts do a great job, but guests need to feel like Airbnb has their back, and we believe this commitment is a necessary step in giving guests peace of mind.”
He added: “Trust is the real energy source that drives Airbnb and has enabled us to scale our platform to 191 countries and to more than 600 million members.
“But recently, events by bad actors on our platform took advantage of that trust, including at a home in Orinda, California. We intend to do everything possible to learn from these incidents when they occur.
“People need to feel like they can trust our community, and that they can trust Airbnb when something does go wrong.
“Today, we are making the most significant steps in designing trust on our platform since our original design in 2008.”
The company will expand manual screening of “high risk” reservations globally during 2020 using risk detection technology.
Chesky said: “This will help identify suspicious reservations and stop unauthorised parties before they start.
“For example, we look at the duration of the stay and listing attributes such as the size of the listing, amongst hundreds of other factors. Risk scoring helps us focus our attention and find the needle in the haystack.
“With these additional protections, we will work together with our community of guests and hosts to reinforce the trust platform that we have built with our community.
“The world moves at the speed of trust, and the more trust that exists, the more access we can all have. Airbnb is founded on trust, and our vision depends on us continuing to increase this in our community.”
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