Airbnb cracks down on fake listings

Verified icons will show up on every listing within U.S., Canada, U.K. and France

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said Wednesday that the company built a new system to verify listings across North America and in other countries, so users won't have to worry about whether they were duped into a phony rental.

Starting in February, verified icons will show up on every listing within the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and France, Airbnb announced Wednesday alongside a slate of other platform updates the company has been working on this summer. 

"You shouldn’t have to worry that a listing is fake or isn’t where it says it is," Chesky posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday. 

Brian Chesky Airbnb CEO

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speaks on stage during Pivot MIA at 1 Hotel South Beach on Feb. 16, 2022, in Miami, Florida. (Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Vox Media / Getty Images)

The company plans to expand this initiative to more than 30 countries starting next fall. 


"Fake content has no place on Airbnb, and we have technologies in place to help prevent bad actors from utilizing the platform," Airbnb told FOX Business, adding that the company uses technology to try and detect fake listings before they go live on the platform.

To do so, it evaluates listings based on "risk signals" including host reputation, template messaging, duplicate photos and other discrepancies.  

This year alone, the San Francisco-based home share platform blocked 157,000 fake listings from joining the platform. It also removed an additional 59,000 that slipped through the cracks. 


"We are always improving our machine learning model to spot suspicious activity and take swift action to remove them from our platform," Airbnb added.

SPAIN - 2021/04/15: In this photo illustration, the Airbnb app seen displayed on a smartphone screen with the Airbnb website displayed on a laptop in the background. (Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In this photo illustration, the Airbnb app seen displayed on a smartphone screen with the Airbnb website displayed on a laptop in the background. (Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

If a user believes they have encountered a fake listing, Airbnb said they can report it to the company using the "report this listing" flag, which is visible on every listing profile. This will prompt an investigation into the listing, the company added. 

Here are some other tips to help guests ensure they booked a real listing: 

1. Guests should always pay and communicate through the platform. If a user pays directly on the platform, their money will be safe in case an issue arises. Users won't be protected under its insurance program, AirCover, if stays are booked off the platform and directly with a host. 

2. Guests should read the reviews and ratings of a place before booking. Guests can only leave a review after their trip, which means future guests know they're reading reviews from someone who actually stayed there. Guests and hosts have two weeks to leave a review after the checkout process. Reviews will only show up when either both guests and hosts submit feedback or when the 14-day review period has ended. 

3. Guests are allowed to contact the host to ask any additional questions prior to booking the listings.