09:18 GMT +314 November 2019
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    A woman browses the site of US home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet in Berlin on April 28, 2016.

    Airbnb to Introduce Property Verification Measures In Wake of California Shooting

    © AFP 2019 / John Macdougall
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    The new set of measures comes in the wake of a ban on ‘party houses’ which the company introduced in response to last week’s shooting in a rented house in an upscale California suburb.

    Accommodation rental platform Airbnb announced Wednesday that it will tighten control over offers in the wake of a shooting in Orinda, California, which saw five people killed.

    Company CEO Brian Chesky said in an email to employees that the company prioritizes the creation of “trust on our platform.”

    “Our real innovation is not allowing people to book a home; it’s designing a framework to allow millions of people to trust one another. 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,” Chesky said.

    The company will begin verifying homes for listing accuracy, marking offers that meet quality standards, with the aim of having every home and host on the platform reviewed and verified by December 2020.

    “Suspicious” accommodations flagged by risk detection models will be manually screened to address unauthorized house parties.

    “This will help identify suspicious reservations and stop unauthorized parties before they start,” the letter says.

    The company banned ‘party houses’ after a Halloween night shooting in California, which reportedly included students from a local college.

    Airbnb announced it will provide rebooking or a 100-percent refund in the event that a listing is inaccurate. To better address dissatisfied consumers, the company will set up a 24/7 hotline, although it is unclear whether the hotline would only work in the US, as Airbnb manages over 7 million rental accommodations in over 100,000 cities across 191 countries, according to The Hill.

    “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,” the letter reads.

    Last week, a shooting took place at a party which house owner Michael Wang said he rented to a woman for a “family reunion for a dozen people,” according to The San Francisco Chronicle. The woman said there were only 12 people at the party, but the house owner said he counted more people via video from his doorbell camera. CBS San Francisco reported that the “Airbnb mansion party” was in fact advertised across social media. The home’s listing reportedly included prohibitions on parties, weapons, smoking and marijuana use, and also marked quiet hours starting at 10 p.m.

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