Airbnb is enacting a policy change as a result of a racial discrimination lawsuit that three Black women have filed against the company.
The vacation rental and activity company settled with plaintiffs Pat Harrington — who died in 2018 — Carlotta Franklin and Ebony Price in 2019 after they “claimed that the website’s requirements for potential renters allowed vacation homeowners to discriminate in violation of Oregon’s public accommodations laws,” which included potential renters being required to use their full names and photos while booking.
“Today, we are sharing an update to the way we display profile names of guests who are Oregon residents during the booking process. Hosts will start seeing an Oregon guest’s initials in place of the guest’s first name until a booking request is confirmed. After a booking is confirmed, the guest’s name will appear. This change will be fully implemented by January 31, 2022 and in effect for at least two years.”
“As part of our ongoing work, we will take any learnings from this process and use them to inform future efforts to fight bias,” the statement noted.
A 2016 Harvard Business Review study found that “requests from guests with distinctively African-American names are roughly 16% less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively White names.” The company has made attempts at course-correcting since then. In 2018, the app changed its policy to allow hosts to not require renter profile photos and noted the images would be displayed only after they accepted a booking.
Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.