Airbnb Is Reviewing All DC-Area Bookings for Hate Groups Ahead of Inauguration

Short term rental platform Airbnb will cancel any bookings made by people associated with a hate group in advance of the inauguration of Joe Biden next week, the company announced in a blog post on Monday.

The move comes as various companies, from payment processors to internet infrastructure firms, have cut ties with people connected to last week’s Capitol riot or the President’s own organizations. It also comes after Airbnb said it already cancelled reservations from domestic terrorist and violent hate group members in the lead up to the Capitol riot.

“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,” the blog post said.

Do you work at a company taking action around the recent riots? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on jfcox@jabber.ccc.de, or email joseph.cox@vice.com.

Airbnb said it was also banning people identified as being associated with the riots through media or law enforcement sources.

“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,” the company added. The company says it is carrying out additional security checks, too.

Last Wednesday, after being spurred on by a speech in which President Trump said his followers should march to the Capitol, thousands of people descended onto the building, many of them violently attacking police officers and breaking their way in. Members of the crowd physically attacked U.S. Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick who later died in hospital of his injuries. A U.S. Capitol police officer shot and killed Qanon-believing, Trump supporter Ashli E. Babbitt as she tried to climb through a broken door towards an area where lawmakers were sheltering from the violent mob.

Airbnb also cancelled a number of bookings before the event itself, The Washingtonian reported. Before Monday’s announcement, an Airbnb spokesperson told Motherboard in an email that “Our community policies ban domestic terrorist and violent hate group members. In the days leading up to the terrible incident in Washington, we learned of reservations made by certain members of these groups and cancelled those reservations and removed them from our community, and we will continue to take appropriate action.”

The company also said in a blog post Monday that “the Airbnb PAC will update its framework and withhold support from those who voted against the certification of the presidential election results.”

On Monday activist group ShutdownDC encouraged Airbnb hosts in the greater DC region to cancel bookings made for next week.

“When white nationalists came to DC last week, many of them stayed at Airbnbs in our communities. This is a direct threat to our safety,” the tweet read.

“We’re asking every short term rental host in the greater DC area to decline new reservations between January 15 and 21, and vet any current reservations knowing that recently-booked guests might be white nationalists,” the group added in a form seeking volunteers to help send messages to Airbnb hosts.

In 2019 Airbnb banned users heading to a white nationalist conference in Tennessee.

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