Airbnb used social media to identify and ban extremist users: report

It’s not a good time to be a member of an extremist hate group who wants to go on vacation.

In the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, Airbnb says it has been taking more aggressive actions to prevent members of violent hate groups from using its service. The company reiterated, however, that its concern is focused on people who may commit violent acts, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

Airbnb used dummy accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other online forums to identify users with ties to various hate groups.

Airbnb used dummy accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other online forums to identify users with ties to various hate groups.
(iStock)

In a report from Engadget, which cited a tech website called The Information, Airbnb has been using dummy accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other online forums to identify users with ties to various hate groups. Members of Airbnb’s team would reportedly avoid interacting with individuals and would only search out public posts to make their determinations.

Since many users link their Airbnb accounts with their Facebook accounts, team members could easily take action in those cases.

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When reached for confirmation, an Airbnb spokesperson told Fox News on Wednesday that the company has long taken a stance against members who are associated with “terrorist, organized criminal and violent racist groups.” The company has required users to agree to this through its Community Standards since 2016.

Airbnb did not specifically confirm whether it had used dummy social-media accounts to identify users with ties to hate groups.

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Since the riot at the Capitol, however, Airbnb also said it had been taking more aggressive actions, and “identified numerous individuals” who were involved in criminal activity.

“As we’ve learned through our own review, or from law enforcement sources or media resources, the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, or who are otherwise associated with known hate groups, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb,” Airbnb said.

Airbnb added that those who were found to be involved in such activity have since been banned from the platform.

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