Airbnb hosts in Oregon will soon have to play a little game of ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner’ once the community-based online platform manages to hide the Guests’ names until bookings are confirmed. This is all part of Airbnb’s larger effort to push back against any opportunities for racial discrimination!
As of January 31, while potential renters browse and select their desired Airbnb accommodations, the Oregon hosts will only be privy to their initials until renters are officially booked in, YAHOO reports. In addition, adjustments will be made to how much of the guests’ profiles hosts can view.
This new policy was prompted by the settlement of a 2019 lawsuit against Airbnb. The company stated they would “renew their commitment in order to review and update the way profile names are displayed to hosts as part of the booking process.”
Three black women in Oregon previously forwarded claims that Airbnb were letting vacation rental hosts discriminate against black individuals. Back in 2018 the company made it so only photos would be seen by hosts after a booking was accepted. The plaintiffs reasoned that requiring renters to provide full names and photos created the space for hosts to discriminate on the platform, hence why they sued. It was in direct violation of Oregon’s public accommodation laws.
In June of 2020, the popular service released an unsigned statement expressing “While we have made progress, we have much more to do and continue working with our Hosts and guests, and with civil rights leaders to make our community more inclusive.”
On December 22, 2021 AirBnb shared their renewed efforts to end racial bias on their platform. Liz DeBold Fusco, an Oregon AirBnB representative told the media “Given that the impact of this change is unknown, the implementation will be limited.
This update is consistent with the voluntary settlement agreement we reached in 2019 with individuals in Oregon who raised concerns regarding the way guests’ names are displayed when they seek to book a listing. As part of our ongoing work, we will take any learnings from this process and use them to inform future efforts to fight bias.”
As the new policy is said to be experimental, the company and the public will have to wait and see how things pan out.