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Airbnb

Your Insta Could Get You Blocked From Airbnb

Your Insta Could Get You Blocked From Airbnb
Jackie Reddy

As part of a new ban on party houses, Airbnb is reportedly employing new technology to automatically check your social media account and internet presence to see how likely you are to trash someone’s house during your stay. 

In a statement last month, Airbnb revealed that it is now upping the ante and “launching new features and policies to help our community stay safe.” Those features include references to its new party house restrictions, a new guarantee to give full refunds for missed stays during “eligible travel issue occurs up to 24 hours after check-in,” and new technology to scour the internet and social media accounts of Airbnbers to determine the likelihood that they’ll trash a guest’s home.

Airbnb’s New “Trait Analyzer”

To help it decide whether or not someone is likely to trash an Airbnb before they have actually trashed it, Airbnb has filed a patent with the European Patent Office for “predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate hundreds of signals that help us flag and investigate suspicious activity before it happens.”

This trait analyzer, described on Airbnb’s Insurance and Safety page, will use AI to flag people “associated” with drugs or alcohol, hate websites, or sex work by scanning keywords, images and video footage across the internet linked to a potential customer to assess their trustworthiness.”

Party Problems

Airbnb’s trait analyzer is garnering attention just as a number of high-profile incidents involving nuisance parties at Airbnb properties have hit the headlines. Metro.co.uk reports that a property developer in London is taking legal action against Airbnb after his mansion was damaged during the course of a party involving 500 people. In Los Angeles, Patch has revealed that the company is removing 28 properties in the Hollywood Hills area from its listings due to major disturbances caused by large-scale parties.

Airbnb’s Response 

Despite the existence of the patent, the company has denied utilizing the methods described in the document to vet potential guests, reports Metro.co.uk. But Airbnb explains here that, “Every Airbnb reservation is scored for risk before it’s confirmed. We use predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate hundreds of signals that help us flag and investigate suspicious activity before it happens,” adding, “While no screening system is perfect, globally we run hosts and guests against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watchlists.”

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. strickerj

    January 16, 2020 at 6:17 am

    How do they match your social media profile to your reservation, or view your private images and profile without you providing that information? I don’t recall ever being asked for that when booking through AirBnB, not would I provide it. If they did change their policy to require it, I’d just stop using them.

  2. KRSW

    January 16, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    I wonder how these algorithms will handle people without any social media accounts. Will it erroneously match us to slobs who do?

  3. kkua

    January 17, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Dumb houseowners! If you were afraid of having your home trashed by renters, just simply avoid listing it in the first place. There’s an inherent risk in opening up your home to strangers. Perhaps they should consider a deposit fee for cleaning on top of the rental fee.

  4. mvoight

    January 18, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    How are they going to decide between people of similar names?

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