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Ahead Of NY Subpoena Hearing, Airbnb Weeds Out Hosts With Dozens Of Listings

TechCrunch logo TechCrunch 22/04/2014 Ryan Lawler

In preparation for oral arguments being in its , Airbnb is eliminating dozens of listings on its site from hosts who have been accused of being bad actors and running illegal hotel operations on the platform.

In a today, Airbnb public policy chief David Hantman once again made the company’s case for why its platform is valuable to the New York community.

For those who have been paying attention, the stats aren’t exactly new: According to a study, the Airbnb community “will generate $768 million in economic activity in New York in 2014 and support 6,600 jobs.” And “87 percent of Airbnb hosts occasionally rent out only the property in which they actually live.”

But what is new is that Airbnb says it is alerting hosts who are clearly running virtual hotel operations that it is removing listings from its site. After the NY Attorney General circulated a list of hosts with dozens of properties available in New York, Hantman said the company has sent notice to hosts that more than 2,000 listings will be removed:

Earlier this year, we began notifying these hosts that they and their more than 2,000 listings would be permanently removed from the Airbnb community. While we are allowing these hosts to support their existing bookings, all are now prohibited from accepting new reservations and if you search for a place to stay in New York, you won’t find these listings.

In an attempt to distract from their vast data demand on regular New Yorkers, the New York Attorney General’s Office has circulated a list of Airbnb users with a large number of listings. Every host on this list that rents apartments has been notified that they and their listings will be permanently removed from Airbnb. That means they can’t accept new reservations. Their profile pages may still be available on our site, solely to support existing reservations. When their existing bookings end, there will be no trace of them on Airbnb.

For Airbnb, the move was clearly made to show that it is committed to policing itself in wake of the New York Attorney General requesting what it believes is an “unreasonably broad” request for data of its users. That subpoena, which was filed last fall, is going to court tomorrow, as both parties make their first oral arguments in front of a judge.

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