A New Low in Airbnb’s Campaign to Hide the Truth from the Public
Last week, (after a new report exposed the disturbing degree to which Airbnb fosters illegal hotels in south Florida), the Tampa Bay Times editorial board took Airbnb to task for its outrageous lack of transparency and penchant for backroom deals.
A proposed agreement with Tampa’s Hillsborough County, which is similar to contracts Airbnb has with several other counties in Florida, would make it virtually impossible for the county revenue department to know whether or not Airbnb is collecting the right amount of tax.
Get this: the agreements include confidentiality provisions that bar disclosure of “all discussions and negotiations” between Airbnb and the county. The measure is so broad in the version agreed to by Orlando’s Orange County, that it bars local officials from even responding to press inquiries without Airbnb’s prior approval.
The Tampa Bay Times didn’t even get access to view Orange County’s contract until after county officials cleared it with Airbnb first.
Yes, you read that right.
A government official had to check with a private business before sharing what should be public information with the public.
Seriously, you can’t make this up.