Airbnb exec resigned over concerns company shared too much data with China

November 22, 2020 

The former chief trust officer of Airbnb was so concerned about how much user data the internet behemoth was sharing with China, he resigned from his post last year after just six months on the job.

Sean Joyce, Airbnb’s former chief trust officer — also a former deputy director with the FBI — reportedly resigned last year over concerns about how much user data the company was sharing with China.

Joyce was hired as the company’s first chief trust officer in May of 2019 to help protect users’ safety on the platform — but he abruptly resigned from his executive position after just six months on the job “over concerns about how the massive rental platform shares data on millions of its users with Chinese authorities,” sources told The Wall Street Journal.

“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,” sources said, according to the paper. “He also was concerned about what he viewed as Airbnb’s willingness to consider more expansive data requests from China.”

Airbnb, which filed to go public this week and, in that filing, admitted its “ability to continue doing business in China is a risk factor for its brand and profitability,” claims it has always been transparent about its information sharing with Chinese authorities.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

However, Joyce felt most people didn’t know how much data was being shared which included, according the WSJ, “phone numbers, email addresses and messages between users and the company.”

“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,” Nick Papas, a spokesman for Airbnb, told the paper.

When reached for comment, Joyce told the WSJ “he had a ‘difference in values’ with Airbnb” and declined any further comment.

According to the paper, Chinese officials asked for more data in the summer of last year — specifically requesting “real-time data” which would alert them to when someone first books a property. This alarmed Joyce, who “worried such data-sharing would enable Chinese government surveillance and put members of minority ethnic groups such as repressed Muslim-majority Uighurs at risk.”

Joyce raised the alarm with Chief Executive Brian Chesky and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, who leads Airbnb’s China unit, to which Blecharczyk reportedly said, “We’re not here to promote American values” — prompting Joyce to resign.

Latest News

December 3, 2020
Longtime confidante says Bill Clinton visited Epstein's island, likens family's world to a 'cult'

A new story is detailing allegedly explosive confrontations and shady activities that took place with former President Bill Clinton and his family, including that he took a 2003 trip to the "pedophile" island of disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Doug Band, who served as Clinton's right-hand man for years after he left the White House, told […]

Read More
December 3, 2020
Consulting firm linked to Biden's cabinet scrubs China work from website

WestExec Advisors, a Washington, D.C. consulting firm, has reportedly scrubbed its work with China from its website as its history receives more scrutiny in the lead-up to Joe Biden's presidency. Several of Biden's cabinet picks have worked for the firm, including its co-founder, Anthony Blinken, who is the nominee for secretary of state, and a […]

Read More
December 3, 2020
San Francisco bans tobacco smoking inside apartments, approves weed

This is how they roll in San Francisco. Smokers in the Golden Gate City have been banned from smoking tobacco in their apartments, but smoking a marijuana joint inside is perfectly fine, officials announced Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors approved the new law in 10 to 1 vote, making San Francisco the largest city in...

Read More
December 3, 2020
A lawsuit in Georgia claims that nearly 200,000 registered voters were improperly purged.
Read More
December 3, 2020
Trump Vows to Keep Fighting for Voting Integrity in 45-Minute Facebook Video

"We're going to show it and hopefully the courts -- in particular, the Supreme Court of the United States -- will see it and respectfully, hopefully, will do what's right for our country," President Trump said.

Read More
December 3, 2020
Fast-Food Chain Del Taco to Pay $1.25 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Suit

The company, sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also agreed to a consent decree to provide anti-discrimination training.

Read More
crossmenuchevron-down