TECHNOLOGY

Airbnb Deactivates Accounts of Users Attending White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville

The lodging rental company is citing terms of service violations as it shutters accounts belonging to users who are headed to the Unite the Right rally this weekend.

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BY Will Yakowicz - 10 Aug 2017

Airbnb is permanently booting users from the platform for violating it "Community Commitment" against people who discriminate against race, creed, or sexual orientation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Airbnb says it is taking a stand against discrimination in Charlottesville, Virginia, just days before white nationalists come together to hold a rally on Saturday.

Airbnb is cancelling reservations and deactivating users who it believes are booking rentals to attend the Unite the Right rally. In a statement to NBC 29 in Virginia, the company said that it removed users from the platform for behavior that is "antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment."

Guests and hosts are asked to indicate agreement with its Community Commitment, released last year, to create an accepting environment for all its members regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.

In account cancellation letters that users posted to Twitter, Airbnb wrote that the users are being kicked off the platform for violating its terms of service. Airbnb also wrote that the bans are "irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts."

Airbnb told NBC 29 that it had concerns for its members and started looking into terms of service violations. Last week, a white nationalist group posted on Facebook about how it rented seven houses that were walking distance to the rally.

Jason Kessler, a white nationalist blogger and Unite the Right rally organizer, is not happy with Airbnb. "This is outrageous and should be grounds for a lawsuit," Kessler told the Washington Post. "It's the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy."

On the rally's Facebook page, the event is described as a way to "unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Communist crackdown, to speak out against displacement level immigration policies in the United States and Europe and to affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests just like any other group is able to do, free of persecution."