Airbnb CEO Sean Joyce left the company just six months later in 2019 as the former FBI deputy director dealt with the company’s data exchange practices in China, according to a report The Wall Street Journal.
For years, Airbnb has revealed that it shares information such as phone numbers and email addresses with the Chinese government when a user book a rental in China. This happens regardless of whether the consumer is a Chinese citizen or a foreign visitor – a policy required of all hotel companies operating in the country. Joyce, who hired Airbnb in May 2019 to protect users of the platform, was concerned about Airbnb̵
Airbnb’s Chinese business is specifically mentioned in the S-1 statement released by the company on Monday ahead of a planned initial public offering. – If [China’s rental] regulations or their interpretation will change in the future “, the prospectus reads,” we could … be forced to cease our activities in China “
For years, US technology companies have had to navigate complex relationships with China. China is currently blocking large companies such as Facebook and Google for failing to comply with government requests for information. Others, such as Apple, make a solid profit in the country, but are often criticized for making concessions to the country’s government.
China is one of the largest markets in the world, but the Chinese Communist Party’s preference for comprehensive surveillance often triggers a setback from employees. However, US companies continue to provide surveillance and censorship tools to marginalized communities in China, such as Uighur Muslims, including the use of DNA databases to track their movements. These actions directly led to the persecution and detention of the group.
Airbnb did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The company is in what is known as a “quiet period” due to its IPO, where there are restrictions on what the company’s speakers and executives have the right to say.