Ahead of inauguration, Airbnb to cancel DC reservations

The company is pausing bookings and bringing down the ban hammer on hate groups in the wake of the Capitol attack.

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge
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Just a week ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, Airbnb said in a Wednesday statement that it would begin canceling and blocking reservations in the Washington, DC, area next week. The announcement came in response to requests from local and federal authorities asking people not to travel to the city for the event, in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack

On Monday, Airbnb said it would ban anyone identified as involved in the Capitol attacks last week, and that it was scrutinizing DC area rentals to prevent hate groups from using its platform during the inauguration. The move is in line with the company's wider ongoing effort to weed out violent and discriminatory groups on its platform. 

"Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full. We also will reimburse hosts, at Airbnb's expense, the money they would have earned from these cancelled reservations. HotelTonight reservations also will be canceled," the company said in its Wednesday statement.

Airbnb said it's been taking names, and has identified, and banned from its platform, numerous individuals associated with violent criminal activity at the Capitol.