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Airbnb to verify 100% of rental listings to improve safety, following 5 deaths

The home-share giant will launch a 24/7 hotline and conduct human reviews of high-risk bookings in response to the mass shooting in California on Halloween.

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Airbnb's CEO lays out new safety measures. 

Airbnb

Airbnb plans to verify 100% of listings and make other safety improvements following a shooting at a Halloween party at a California rental that left five dead. The safety upgrades follow the home sharing service's initial move on Saturday to ban rentals of properties for use as "party houses." 

Airbnb will ensure that 100% of its 6 million home rental listings worldwide will be verified by the end of next year, CEO Brian Chesky said Wednesday at The New York Times DealBook Conference and in an email to Airbnb employees

"We're going to make sure we can stand behind every single listing, every single host, to make sure that every single listing is accurate," including the photos, the address, and the host's identity, Chesky said at the conference. This will be done with a combination of company employees and the Airbnb user community, he said. 

The company will also launch a new "guest guarantee." If you check into an Airbnb and it isn't as it was described online, the company will either find you a new one of greater or equal value, or, if unavailable, will refund 100% of your payment, Chesky said at the conference.  

A new 24/7 Neighbor Hotline will act as a rapid response team staffed by real people who are trained by police chiefs to help Airbnb deal with complaints in a more timely manner. The hotline will launch in the US by the end of 2019, and globally over 2020, the email said.

Finally, Airbnb will conduct extra manual reviews of every high-risk reservation -- for example, if a single person books a 10-room home for a night in the city where they live, Chesky said. 

"Ultimately, technology has its limits, at least technology today, and so you have to put a lot more humans behind it in the review," Chesky said at the conference. 

The measures also come after a Vice report published last week detailed an alleged Airbnb scam involving fake host profiles and rentals that did not match the condition of their photos.

The safety steps are the most significant safety steps Airbnb has added into its platform since its original design in 2008, he added in the email. 

Last Thursday's shooting in Orinda, California, occurred at a party with over 100 attendees at an Airbnb home, police said. Three victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died at the hospital later on. There have been no arrests made in the case.

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