The Kafkaesque experience of getting banned for life from Airbnb

Cat furniture maker Jackson Cunningham was banned for life from Airbnb, and the company wouldn't tell him why. In his essay, he compares his experience to the nightmarish Black Mirror episode, White Christmas.

Here's an email that Airbnb sent Jackson:

Dear Jackson,

We regret to inform you that we’ll be unable to support your account moving forward, and have exercised our discretion under our Terms of Service to disable your account(s). This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts.

Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account. Furthermore, we are not liable to you in any way with respect to disabling or canceling your account. Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with respect to such matters, and this decision will not be reversed.

Jackson followed up with Airbnb customer support and received the following reply:

Hi Jackson,

Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account. Additionally, we consider this matter closed and will no longer reply to any inquiries regarding your account.

Jackson decided to try to find out why he was banned. As far as he can tell, it was because he wrote a review of one of his stays on Google, and Airbnb only allows reviews on its own platform.

His conclusion:

The part that’s especially poetic to me is that AirBnB touts a firm brand message of community and connectedness with their “Belong Anywhere” campaigns but the frightening reality is that any individual user is completely disposable, without a shred of appeal to due process... We’re becoming increasingly dependent on a handful of major tech giants to get through our basic daily routine. Imagine waking up one day and no longer being able to check your Gmail, buy things on Amazon, or book an Uber.

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