By Julia Carrie Wong : sfweekly – excerpt
A day after Airbnb cancelled its ads, at least one was still in place
Airbnb’s passive aggressive ad campaign about the $12 million in hotel tax that its guests contribute to the city’s coffers each year was almost universally reviled, but was it illegal?
That’s the contention of the company’s opponents in the bitter campaign over Proposition F, a ballot initiative that would strictly regulate short term rentals in San Francisco.
Two days after Airbnb launched the ill-fated campaign, only to apologize and cancel it following a swift social media backlash, the short term rental platform’s opponents are alleging that the ads jeered ’round the world were an intentional violation of San Francisco’s strict campaign finance disclosure rules.
Ian Lewis of Unite Here Local 2, the city’s hotel worker union, filed a complaint with the San Francisco Ethics Commission today against Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and No on Prop. F Treasurer Andrew Sinn. In the complaint, Lewis writes, “These advertisements were transparently intended to persuade voters to oppose Proposition F, which is closely identified with AirBnB.”.
The complaint calls for an investigation and further alleges that, in addition to the ad campaign, “the company has spent hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in unreported expenditures attempting to influence voter opinion.” … (more)
So, who thought up these ads and who is responsible for creating them? This kind of faux pas proves that the people who run Airbnb do not understand the basics about how humans feel or respond to their messages. They only understand the machines they control and want nothing more than to turn us all into controllable machines.