Airbnb is hiding the names of guests in Oregon to stop discrimination


Image for article titled Airbnb to hide Oregon guest names until anti-discrimination bookings are confirmed

Photography: Joel Saget / AFP (Getty Images)

Airbnb is taking steps to combat host discrimination on its platform with a new update for Oregon residents. Unfortunately, yesIt seems that people in other countries, and around the world, will simply have to keep fighting to be treated fairly on the platform.

From January 31, the hosts will only see initials of guest names until they confirm the reservation request, Airbnb reported in a December news announcement it spotted the Verge. After host confirms when booking, the full name of the guest will appear. Change the way names are displaced will be in place at least two years.

Although we have made progress, we still have a lot to do and continue to work with our hosts and guests, and with civil rights leaders, to make our community more inclusive, ” Airbnb said.

In its announcement, the company said the update is in line with the 2019 voluntary agreement reached with individuals in Oregon.who expressed concern about the way guests’ names are displayed when they want to book an entry. “

According to Oregon, In 2017, Portland resident Patricia Harrington filed a lawsuit against Airbnb. She claimed this because Airbnb requires guests to reveal their full name and include a photo, which the hosts review before accepting a reservation, the company allowed hosts to discriminate against black guests. This one represents a violation of Oregon’s public housing law, she argued.

Airbnb settled the lawsuit, which involved two other black women in Oregon, in 2019. By then, Harrington had died.

The lawsuit’s allegations were not wrong. Black guests were sounding the alarm about discrimination on the platform for years and even created the hashtag: #AirbnbWhileBlack. In 2016 a Study Harvard Business School even found that the requirements of guests with African American names were approximately 16% less likely to be accepted by hosts than identical guests with distinctly white names.

That same year, Airbnb implemented the agreement promote fair treatment of its users, stating that all users have agreed to treat everyone in the platform platform “with respect, without judgment or bias”. After the deal, the company began to hide profile pictures of guests, which are now revealed only after confirmation of the reservation. In 2020, Airbnb told Gizmod that it was banned 1.4 million people from their platform for refusing to accept their non-discrimination agreement.

Ddiscrimination on platforms not limited yet for blacks. Hosts in the U.S. and beyond have rejected Asians, Trans, North Africans, Uighurs, and Tibetans.

Gizmodo contacted Airbnb on Saturday to ask why this change only applies to Oregon residents. Given what we know, it seems that this could certainly be useful in other areas as well. An Airbnb spokesman cited the 2019 lawsuit settlement, which we described above.

“Since the impact of this change is unknown, implementation will be limited,” Airbnb spokeswoman Liz DeBold Fusco said in an email. “We will assess the impact of this change to understand whether there is knowledge from this paper that can serve as a stimulus for future efforts to combat bias.”

Although I may have been salty above – the world is just, you know, tiring – this is a positive step away from Airbnb. The company may not be moving as fast as we would like in the fight against discrimination, but dDiscrimination is a difficult issue, and it takes time to make effective change. It is important to keep working and get to the point where you are fighting discrimination proactive, not just because you are sued.


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