By Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Airbnb says it will limit young adults’ ability to book some properties in Canada in a bid to cut down on unauthorized parties like the one where three young men were killed in Toronto over the weekend.
The company says it will launch a pilot project preventing people under the age of 25 from booking local listings for entire homes in Canada.
It says the measure relies on user-provided information and “user verification systems.”
The company is also introducing a “24/7 neighbourhood support telephone hotline” in Canada to connect residents with “rapid response agents” who will deal with concerns.
It says people under 25 who meet certain criteria, like having positive reviews, will still be able to book entire homes locally.
The Friday-night shooting happened during a party in a condo unit that was rented out through Airbnb.
Those killed in the weekend shooting have been identified as Tyronne Noseworthy, 19, Jalen Colley, 21, and Joshua Gibson-Skeir, 20. Investigators say two guns were found at the scene and the gunmen were among the dead.
Only two of the deaths are considered homicides but police have not explained why that is.
The Toronto shooting is just the latest to highlight fears around Airbnb parties.
Late last year, Airbnb announced a ban on so-called “party houses” after five people were killed at a Halloween party at a rental in Orinda, Calif., that was listed on its site. The ban prohibited “open-invite” parties in which organizers open up the home to anyone who wants to attend, for instance by advertising on social media.
And a Humber College student filed a lawsuit against the company last year after he was shot in the pelvis while attending an “Airbnb mansion party” in April that was advertised online.
Airbnb also announced Wednesday that it will donate $300,000 to Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns over the course of three years. It’s to go towards “initiatives focused on raising awareness about protection from guns and keeping communities safe.”