Airbnb Puts Anti-Discrimination Rules in Place for Hosts

By Paul Riegler on 12 September 2016
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Savannah, one of the many cities Airbnb operates in

Savannah, one of the many cities Airbnb operates in

Airbnb said Thursday that it would institute a new nondiscrimination policy following months of criticism that its hosts, i.e. those who rent out rooms, houses, and apartments to visitors, reject potential guests based on their race, age, gender, religion, or disability.

“Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them,” said Brian Chesky, the company’s CEO, in a message to the Airbnb community. “Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry.”

The San Francisco-based company told its hosts that, starting November 1, they would need to agree to what it called a “community commitment” to combat discrimination. It also said it would deemphasize the role of user photographs of guests, which typically make race, age, and gender clear, and would promote the use of instant bookings, a system that lets travelers book a reservation without host approval.

Along with the new policies, the short-term rental company released a 32-page report that outlined its plans and announced it is adding a team of data scientists and engineers that will comb through data to look for discriminatory patterns in host behavior.

Airbnb said it will also provide anti-bias training for all company employees, increase diversity in its staff, and assist anyone who believes he has experienced discrimination via the service.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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