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Airbnb introduces ‘anti-party’ tools to predict house parties

According to Airbnb, the tool looks at several factors when making a decision.

Airbnb logo and blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

Airbnb really doesn’t like house parties. They’re destructive, deter hosts from joining the platform, and generate bad press.

The past few years have seen the company wage an aggressive war on would-be troublemakers, using a mix of seasonal booking restrictions and tough new rules. 

Now, it’s taking things a step further. On Tuesday, the company announced that it will screen future US and Canadian bookings with predictive analytics tools, allowing them to stop unauthorized house parties before they take place. 

According to Airbnb, the tool looks at several factors — from the length of the booking, the distance between the property and the renter’s address, and the age of the user’s account — when making a decision.

“This system looks at factors like history of positive reviews (or lack of positive reviews), length of time the guest has been on Airbnb, length of the trip, distance to the listing, weekend vs. weekday, among many others,” according to Airbnb.

Crucially, it screens renters irrespective of their age. Previous iterations of Airbnb’s predictive analytics tech focused exclusively on those under the age of 25. This oversight allowed other demographics to avoid scrutiny entirely.

Flagged accounts will be unable to rent entire properties, but can still rent private rooms or hotel rooms using the platform. 

Airbnb previously road-tested its predictive analytics system in Australia. The company claims it reduced the number of unauthorized house parties by 35 percent. Despite that, it admits the technology isn’t perfect. 

“We want to be clear that no system is perfect. We work hard to deter bad actors from using our platform, but ultimately Airbnb is an online platform that facilitates real world connections,” wrote the company in a press release. 

This move is Airbnb’s latest volley in its war on unauthorized parties. Although landlords previously had discretion about whether to allow parties, that changed with the onset of the COVID pandemic.

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Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Reason, The Next Web, and Wired.

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