News & Politics

Airbnb Announces Plan to Prevent Capitol Rioters, Hate Group Members From Using Its Platform During Inauguration

Photograph by Evy Mages

Airbnb says it will ban anyone arrested by D.C. police on January 6 from using its platform. It will review reservations to try to weed out members of hate groups—it includes members of the Proud Boys in this category—and will institute extra security checks and may take legal action against guests that plan violence.

The steps are all part of the company’s “Capitol Safety Plan” for Joe Biden’s inauguration next week. The FBI has warned that armed protests in DC and state capitals are in the works, and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked people to stay away from the city. As many as 15,000 National Guard troops could be deployed in Washington as the inauguration approaches.

Airbnb says it will require guests to prove their identity and may rerun the background checks it does when people first open accounts against public databases. And, it says, “We will be communicating to all booking guests to the Capitol Region that if we learn that they or their additional guests are members of hate groups, planning violence or violating our policies or terms of service, we may bring legal action against them.”

The company told Washingtonian last week that it canceled reservations for some hate-group members before last week’s riot and that anyone concerned about who might be staying in an Airbnb near them could contact the company for help. I spoke with one DC host who said when he called, Airbnb reps were unaware of any policy that would help him figure out what to do about guests coming into town over next nine days. Airbnb says hosts with questions can contact its “Urgent Safety” hotline and that this portal can connect concerned neighbors with “highly trained staff.”

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.