Airbnb uses software that determines ‘narcissism or psychopathy’

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If you’ve been rejected from booking an Airbnb rental, it may be because the app’s artificial intelligence determined that you’re a psychopath.

Airbnb owns the rights to software that’s designed to scan people’s online presence to predict whether they’re trustworthy, according to a patent filed last year. The software digs through people’s internet posts, including social media activity, to detect illegal activity and scan for traits including “neuroticism,” “narcissism, Machiavellianism, or psychopathy.”

The short-term rental app has attempted to ensure the safety of guests and hosts in the wake of several high-profile crises in the past year. The company banned parties in its listings after five people were killed in an October shooting at an Airbnb in California, and other hosts have accused guests of incurring millions of dollars in damage.

According to a recent VICE report, Airbnb is also grappling with fraudulent hosts running long-term scams through the app.

In a statement to Business Insider, an Airbnb spokesperson confirmed that it owns the patent, but said it isn’t currently implementing all of the software’s screening methods as described in the patent filing, adding that the company conducts background checks of user’s criminal records.

“As with any other company, there are a number of patents we file, ranging from searching listings to automating booking availability, and it does not mean we necessarily implement all or part of what’s in them,” the spokesperson said.

Airbnb’s website says that the app uses “predictive analytics and machine learning” to flag suspicious accounts, but it’s not clear whether the patented software is being used. Airbnb acquired the patent after buying the background check startup Trooly, according to Evening Standard.

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