The secret lobbying tactics of Airbnb can today be revealed as the multibillion-pound American company fights to protect its business model.

The lettings website is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to create the impression of overwhelming public support amid a council crackdown on homeowners using the service.

An investigation by The Times has found that the company is building a fake grassroots campaign to target key politicians. One executive even boasted about how the company had successfully won over the mayor of London.

Airbnb is hiring dozens of community organisers to “build neighbourhood groups to support their right to…

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