Airbnb Exec Resigns over Company Sharing Data with China

Counter-protesters hold up Chinese flags to oppose the protesters gathering in central London to attend a march organised by StandwithHK and D4HK in support of Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, on August 17, 2019. - Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster …

Sean Joyce, the former chief trust officer at Airbnb, resigned from his post last year over concerns about the company’s data-sharing policy. Joyce claims that the company inappropriately shares data with the Chinese government without the consent of its users. The company’s co-founder allegedly told him: “We’re not here to promote American values.”

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a former executive at Airbnb resigned from his post just six months after he started over concerns about the company’s relationship with China. Joyce claims that Airbnb users are typically unaware that the company often complies with data requests from China’s Communist Party.

A high-profile hire for Airbnb, Mr. Joyce grew alarmed during his tenure that the company wasn’t being fully transparent about the data it shares with the ruling Chinese Communist Party government, including for Americans traveling in the country, these people say. He also was concerned about what he viewed as Airbnb’s willingness to consider more expansive data requests from China, the people familiar said…
Airbnb has told users since 2016 that it shares information with Chinese authorities, according to a review of its communications. Even so, Mr. Joyce believed most people using the platform weren’t aware of the extent of the data shared, which included phone numbers, email addresses and messages between users and the company, two of these people said.
Sources claim that Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharcyzk even told Joyce at one point that Airbnb does not promote American values. “We’re not here to promote American values,” Blecharczyk allegedly said.
Airbnb spokesperson Nick Papas told the Wall Street Journal that the company is “committed” to being transparent with users about its data policies.
“We are committed to being transparent with our community, and clearly disclose our data policies to all of our hosts and guests by displaying a clear message to users when they are on the platform and through multiple other notifications,” Papas said.

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