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Airbnb rolls out new safety plan following shooting in California that left 5 dead

Posted at 2:05 PM, Nov 07, 2019

Airbnb announced new safety measures Wednesday following a Halloween party shooting at one of their California properties that left five people dead and others wounded.

"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," Airbnb CEO Briank Chesky says in a press release. "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."

The new safety measures cover a litany of concerns Airbnb users have been vocal about following the shooting, including verifying the company's 7 million listings and screening "high-risk reservations."

Here's what's outlined in the four-point safety plan.

Verification of listings
Airbnb says it will immediately start verifying its 7 million property listings.

"Homes will be verified for accuracy of the listing (including accuracy of photos, addresses, and listing details) and quality standards (including cleanliness, safety, and basic home amenities) and those that meet our high expectations will be clearly labeled," Airbnb says.

The verification of the homes and hosts will be completed by Dec. 15, 2020.

Guaranteed rebooking and refunds
Airbnb says it will will rebook guests a new listing of equal or greater value, or they refund them entirely, if a listing doesn't meet their accuracy standards. This new policy will begin Dec. 15, 2019.

24-hour hotline
A 24/7 "Neighbor Hotline" will be staffed with a rapid response team to address any concerns neighbors of Airbnb properties have. The phone number will be on the Airbnb website and on the app. The hotline will launch in the U.S. by Dec. 31, 2019 and will roll out globally throughout 2020.

Reviewing 'high-risk' reservations
"To address unauthorized house parties, beginning on December 15, and informed by previous pilots, we are expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our risk detection models to all of North America, with global rollout through 2020," Airbnb says. "This will help identify suspicious reservations and stop unauthorized 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."