Airbnb CEO says ‘world is rooting against’ Big Tech

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This illustration picture taken on November 22, 2019, shows the logo of the online lodging service Airbnb displayed on a tablet in Paris.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said “the world is rooting against” Big Tech in an interview for “Axios on HBO,” amid rising skepticism from investors and the general public. 

Chesky was asked by Axios’s Mike Allen, “What do you think is the biggest risk at this moment for Big Tech?”

“That the world is rooting against them because they don’t think they have society’s interest in their favor,” Chesky replied. 

Chesky also pointed to increased suspicion from wealthy investors as a hurdle for tech startups.

“When I came to Silicon Valley, there was probably a lack of skepticism about the whole industry,” Chesky recalled. “And that can be helpful to a point; if you live in a world that’s completely skeptical, it’s hard for new ideas to be embraced.”

“But a world of no skepticism can have some big downsides,” he added. “I think that the lesson is that … we have to be a little more skeptical of things, probably a little bit earlier.”

Chesky also discussed his company’s efforts to increase diversity in hiring practices and ensure the hosts and guests on his platform are not participating in discriminatory practices — an issue that garnered national attention when #AirbnbWhileBlack was trending on Twitter.

In response, Chesky created a Community Commitment requiring hosts and guests to treat everyone “without judgment or bias.” 

“One-point-three million people decided not to do that,” Chesky said to Axios. “And we kicked them all off the site.”

Facebook has recently been at the center of criticism targeting Silicon Valley after leaked internal reports showed the social media platform’s damaging impact on younger users, and a whistleblower saying the company prioritized profits over user safety. 

On Sunday, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said that lawmakers’ attempts to compare the damaging nature of the social media platform to Big Tobacco are “extremely misleading.”

“Of course we’re not [the same],” Clegg said on ABC’s “This Week”.

“We’re a social media app that many, many people around the world use because it brings utility, it helps small businesses, it brings joy, it brings pleasure, it connects to you with people you care and love the most,” he added. 

Tags Airbnb Big tech Brian Chesky skepticism
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