Airbnb faces allegations of compromising user safety

The issue of user safety is crucial for Airbnb, a platform facilitating millions of global interactions.


Airbnb has been accused of compromising user safety by scaling back efforts to remove extremists from its platform, according to a whistle-blower complaint by Jess Hernandez, a former contractor. Hernandez, who worked as an investigations analyst for Airbnb from May 2022 to November 2023, claims she was fired after the company directed her team to reinstate users involved in the 6 January 2021 Capitol attack. Whistle-blower Aid, representing Hernandez, stated that Airbnb’s changes undermined its public safety commitment.

Hernandez filed her complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission in May. Airbnb denied the allegations, asserting that it continues to enforce policies against dangerous individuals and has even expanded its team to enhance safety measures.

Despite these measures, Hernandez alleges that in 2023, the teams faced increased bureaucratic hurdles, slowing down their ability to remove dangerous users. The claim is supported by a 161-page complaint obtained by NBC from an anonymous source. Before her time at Airbnb, Hernandez worked with the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium.

Why does it matter?

The complaint adds to ongoing safety concerns within Airbnb, a platform facilitating millions of global interactions. CEO Brian Chesky has previously implemented measures like party crackdowns and bans on indoor security cameras to address these issues. Airbnb’s history of removing users associated with extremist activities dates back to 2016, including actions following the Unite the Right rally in 2017 and the Capitol attack in 2021.