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Brian Chesky. Photo: Kurt Krieger - Corbis/Contributor/Getty Images

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced at the New York Times Dealbook conference on Wednesday that the company is rolling out new safety features on its platform, including verifying 100% of hosts and listings.

Why it matters: The focus on safety comes after five people were killed at a Halloween party at a Northern California home rental and a recent Vice story that highlighted fake identities on the platform — allegations the FBI is now looking into.

Details:

  • Airbnb will ensure "100% of hosts and listings are reviewed and verified by the end of next year," Chesky said.
  • The company will establish a “guest guarantee” in case a visitor arrives at an Airbnb that does not match the online listing's photos or descriptions.
  • There will also be a "neighbor hotline" — available 24/7 and staffed by real people.
  • Chesky added the company will review "high-risk" listings manually.

Between the lines: Chesky admitted the platform changes are all high-touch — meaning it's costlier than any efforts that could be automated. This represents a "significant investment," but it's "the very best outcome for our community ... and it will provide a lot more peace of mind," Chesky said.

  • Airbnb's CEO also noted that the company has "cumulatively more money in the bank" than the $3.2 billion it has raised.
  • Asked about its plans to go public and the possibility of a direct listing, Chesky would only say, "We ... don't need to raise new money." (A company doesn't raise money in a direct listing as it would in a traditional IPO.)

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

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