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Airbnb will cancel and block all reservations in the Washington, DC metro area during the week of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. This came after the rental company discovered accounts for "numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building."
According to Airbnb's press release on Wednesday, the announcement came in response to various local, state, and federal officials asking visitors to not travel to the nation's capitol for Inauguration Week.
AirBnB also cited reports that emerged Tuesday afternoon regarding "armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration."
"We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community," the memo read, emphasizing that the company researched the names confirmed by media and law enforcement sources to be responsible for the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6.
AirBnB investigated whether those suspects have accounts on the marketplace's site and then identified "numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building." The users in question have been banned from Airbnb's platform.
Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full. Hotels will also be reimbursed at Airbnb’s expense for the money that business owners would have earned from the cancelled reservations.
The initiative came two days after Airbnb released its seven-step Capitol Safety Plan to keep its hosts and neighborhood residents safe, which included canceling the reservations of any guests associated with hate groups.
All American residents seeking to book an Airbnb listing must first successfully verify their identity and at times are required to provide their government ID to "prevent hate group members from hiding behind fake identities." Additional security measures are applied when Airbnb re-runs background checks or assesses profiles against other publicly available databases.
Dating back to the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Airbnb maintained that the company has applied and expanded its Trust and Safety defense systems in order to combat "violent and discriminatory hate groups."