Airbnb Will Share Data with New York City

December 1, 2015, 10:23 PM UTC
Photo courtesy: Justin Sullivan

Home-sharing startup Airbnb will begin sharing some of its data about activity in New York City with city officials, the company said on Tuesday.

Airbnb, which lets hosts rent out space in their homes to paying guests for short or long terms, has come under fire from regulators for enabling some hosts to run illegal businesses that skirt hotel regulations. Airbnb on the other hand, has largely denied those allegations, and resisted sharing data about its customers, arguing that it would breach their privacy.

So as a compromise, Airbnb said on Tuesday that it will share anonymized data about almost 60,000 listings in all five boroughs of the city with government officials. The data covers all active listings as of November 17 and also includes information about listings, active or not, from the past year. In doing so, the company’s goal is to convince regulators that most activity through its service is by regular folks who are renting out spare space now and then, often to make ends meet, rather than the greedy landlord scenario that’s been often painted.

For each listing, the data will include information such as the type of listing (a room or entire unit), the host’s earnings, number of nights it was rented, information about its zip code, and how many properties a host currently lists through the service. However, the data is only accessible by making an appointment at the company’s New York City office, according to the New York Times.

This isn’t the first time time Airbnb has shared data about its hosts with New York City officials. After a long battle with New York State attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman, it handed over anonymized data about some of its listings in May 2014.

In early November, following a victory over a ballot measure in San Francisco that would have impose sever restrictions on its business in the city, Airbnb released a statement outlining its commitment to working with cities and their policies, though it offered little specifics about how it would do so at the time.

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