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Airbnb bans ‘party houses’ after fatal Halloween shooting

Airbnb has banned “party houses” following a deadly shooting at a property in Orinda, California, that was rented through the service.

Five people died and several were injured in the shooting, which happened on October 31, 2019. Reports suggest the home was originally booked for a small number of people but was later advertised on social media as a venue for a party, with around 100 people attending.

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Following the shooting, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky announced that the company had decided to take action against unauthorized parties.

In a series of tweets posted on Saturday, Chesky said the accommodation and experiences service was banning party houses with immediate effect, and taking steps to rid Airbnb of “abusive host and guest conduct.”

The CEO said the company will be “expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our risk detection technology,” as well as “creating a dedicated ‘party house’ rapid response team.”

He continued: “I have directed Margaret Richardson from our Executive Team to oversee this new team and initiate a 10-day sprint to review and accelerate the development and implementation of these new safety initiatives.”

Keen to stave off criticism of the service, Chesky ended his thread with the message: “We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Airbnb host for the property had been led to believe the booking was for a 12-person family reunion. But it landed up on social media advertised as a “mansion party.” Neighbors said there was a lot of noise coming from the residence in the time leading up to the shooting, which occurred shortly before 11 p.m. PT. By Sunday, police were yet to make any arrests. Airbnb said the renter has been banned from using its service, while the property has been removed from its listings.

In an earlier tweet responding to the shooting, Chesky wrote, “What happened on Thursday night in Orinda, CA was horrible. I feel for the families and neighbors impacted by this tragedy — we are working to support them.”

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