I. The accommodation rental company came up with changes on Thursday, to ensure its short-term rental policy is diverse. This happened after being criticized for leaving an option open to host to reject renters based on disability, race, age, gender or ethnicity.
So Airbnb made a 32-page report. The San Francisco-based company decided to create a new nondiscrimination code of procedure and to ask users to make a “community commitment.”
This commitment wants people to work with other users, no matter what “race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or age” they are.
Also, the company wants to reduce the importance of user photos which point to race and gender. Airbnb also wants to make instant bookings happen faster. This feature allows renters to book a place immediately, without a host approving.
The actions come in response to Airbnb discrimination concerns that have shadowed the company’s fast development. Harvard University researchers published a paper that revealed how hard it was for guests with African-American names to rent using the website. Some Airbnb users shared stories on social media, where they claim they had been denied booking because of their race.
In May, Gregory Selden, of African-American descent, filed a discrimination suit against Airbnb. He said he could not book a place to stay, because of his race.
Laura Murphy, from the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office in Washington, was hired to work on the report. She said that Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive acknowledged the racism claims.
However, the report found that too many times, people were discriminated against on this platform because of what they look like or who they are.
Airbnb was created in August 2008. Since then, it helped connect 60 million guests with rentals in over 34,000 cities and 191 countries. The company is privately owned and its value stands at 25 billion dollars. It has global ambitions to offer accommodation for travelers.
Wade Henderson, an advisor on the report, believes that the report showed an attempt on the company’s behalf to come up with essential solutions to reduce discrimination on their platform. However, the set of measures is only seen as a “first step.”