Airbnb says hosts discriminate against Black guests more often than any other race

Discrimination seems to persist and thrive in the home-sharing economy and industry boom Airbnb admitted this week its platform is suffering from racial prejudice.

According to a study, Airbnb hosts are more likely to reject applicants with African-American names and profile pictures. report released by Airbnb on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, discrimination happens every day in our world, which means it can also happen on Airbnb,” the report said. “Understanding how discrimination occurs on Airbnb, making our platform more inclusive, and strengthening our policies to help protect our Hosts and guests are just some of the many. how we deal with bias.”

Airbnb found that booking success rates can vary significantly depending on a user’s race, with “the largest disparity” being found between Black and white guests. The booking success rate for black users in 2021 is 91.4%, compared with 93.4% for both Latinos and Asians and 94.1% for white subscribers. The findings are based on a random sample of 750,000 bookings made on the platform last year, and applicants’ racial ethnicity was identified by the company based on their name and profile photo.

“It’s a meaningful and unacceptable distinction,” Janaye Ingram, director of engagement and community partner programs at Airbnb, said of the report’s findings in an interview. interview with CNN. “It’s something we’re obviously not happy about and we’re working on a lot of work to address it.”

Research done by lighthouse project, an internal review initiative created by Airbnb in 2020. Between 2016 and 2020, Airbnb removed 1.3 million people from the service for “refusing to treat others without judgment or bias”, prior to launching the Lighthouse Project to further combat discrimination by collecting data on racial bias on the platform. Since December 2022, the company has denied access or banned a total of 2.5 million people for violating anti-discrimination rules throughout its history.

In this week’s bias report, Airbnb announced a number of changes to the platform that were implemented in November 2022 to make the platform fairer, including simplifying eligibility requirements. eligibility for the service’s “instant booking” feature, which allows guests to pre-book a rental home/room without prior approval from the host. Airbnb found that Black guests are less likely to use instant booking because their profiles tend to be newer and have fewer reviews, leading to another adjustment to the service that helps Black users black easily get more reviews right after joining Airbnb.

The company estimates that an additional 5 million people will be able to reserve the property following recent policy changes.

Racial bias on traditional home-sharing platforms has resulted in different apps tailored for different minorities, including noirbnb aims to “create a better travel experience for Blacks and People of Color.”

Airbnb’s recent review isn’t the first time researchers have discovered evidence of racial bias on the platform. Harvard 2015 research submitted about 6,400 applications from several fake accounts and found that applications from guests with “a special name of African American” were 16% less likely to be accepted than guests with “particularly white people” have identical profiles.

Another Harvard research found earlier this year that Airbnb hosts with distinctive Asian names saw a 12% drop in bookings in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with hosts with distinctive white names. The authors linked the decline to growing hatred against Asians in the US in the early days of the pandemic.

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