Airbnb bans party houses after Halloween shooting; to start manual screening of high-risk bookings

CEO Chesky says Airbnb will opt for manual screening of high-risk reservations.

Airbnb is sued by a guest over host's alleged sexual harrassment. Reuters

The mass shooting at the 'Airbnb mansion party' in California on Friday during Halloween celebrations has forced the company to ban all 'party houses'. Airbnb has said it will ban party houses that can be rented through the firm. "Starting today, we are banning "party houses" and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said on Twitter.

Five persons were killed and an unspecified number of people wounded in gun violence at a Halloween party in California on Friday. The shooting happened at an upscale residential location in Orinda, a small city near the bay in San Francisco. The suspect is still on the run, as per the latest reports. While three partygoers died at the rented house two more succumbed to wounds later.

Orinda police chief David Cook said there were at least 100 people in attendance at the Halloween party when the police arrived at the scene following the shooting. According to Airbnb, the house was booked initially for a small group. However, the people who rented the place went to Instagram to advertise the Halloween party and more than 100 people, all below 30 years of age, turned up.

Chesky also said that, going forward, the company would opt for manual screening of high-risk reservations. It will also set up a party house rapid response team to address emergencies, the CEO said. "First, we are expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our risk detection technology ... Second, we are creating a dedicated "party house" rapid response team. Third, we are taking immediate action against users who violate these enhanced guest policies, including removal," Cheksy said.

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According to witnesses, those who attended the party included college students. Daily Star reported that the students were apparently from Laney College, a public community college in Oakland. "Arriving officers found a highly chaotic scene that included gunshot victims, injured party-goers, and numerous people fleeing the scene. The partygoers apparently came from throughout the Bay Area for the Halloween event," the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office said, according to CNN.