Airbnb Introduces Verification Process To Combat Fake Listings


Airbnb, the popular accommodation-sharing platform, is taking steps to crack down on fake listings by implementing a verification process. The company aims to tackle the issue of properties that don’t exist, contain false information, or are owned by individuals other than the listed hosts. To achieve this, Airbnb will verify all listings in its top five markets, which include the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and France.

Key Takeaway

Airbnb is implementing a verification process to combat fake listings in its top markets. The company will utilize a combination of anti-fraud technology, AI, and human review to ensure the accuracy of listings. Hosts will be required to provide additional information, including photos with GPS data. Airbnb aims to maintain the integrity of its platform and prevent fraudulent listings, emphasizing that fake content has no place on its platform.

Cracking Down on Fake Listings

In response to incidents such as the tragic deaths of five individuals at a Halloween party hosted at an Airbnb rental in 2019, the company began tightening its policies. It started verifying information on all listings to ensure accuracy and now seeks to enhance its verification program by collecting more details from hosts.

Airbnb will employ a combination of anti-fraud technology and a blend of artificial intelligence (AI) and human review to conduct the listing verification. For new property listings, hosts will be required to upload images of the property with GPS data through the Airbnb app. In the case of existing listings, the company will examine booking history data, reviews, and information provided by the host. Accuracy in terms of property location will be crucial, and hosts must have access to the properties they list.

The Verification Process

Airbnb plans to begin the verification process in its first batch of countries later this year, with an expansion to thirty additional countries by the following fall. Starting from February, verified symbols will appear alongside listings to indicate their authenticity.

While Airbnb did not provide a specific timeline, the company assures hosts of existing properties that they will be given sufficient time to comply with the verification requirements. Failure to provide the necessary information may result in account limitations. It remains unclear whether Airbnb intends to remove unverified properties in the future.

In cases where a property is legitimate but owned by someone other than the host, Airbnb examines factors such as host reputation, template messaging, duplicate photos, and other discrepancies.

Combatting Fake Content

Airbnb emphasizes that fake content has no place on its platform and aims to take a proactive approach in its fight against fraudulent listings. The company has already prevented 157,000 fake listings from joining the platform this year and removed 59,000 fraudulent listings.

Despite these efforts, the recent implementation of new short-term rental rules in New York City has led to a significant decrease in Airbnb listings, with a reported drop of 77% in recent months. Although Airbnb did not specify if it intends to use registration data for listing verification purposes, the company’s commitment to ensuring the authenticity and accuracy of listings is evident.

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