Folks renting homes as Airbnbs in Oregon will no longer be able to view their guests’ full names to combat racism.
Reports of discrimination have been rampant amongst Airbnb hosts and have led to several lawsuits. NBC News reported that the company would be limiting its hosts’ ability to view the guests’ names as a result. Only the traveler’s initials will be visible to the hosts.
RACISM ABOUND; AIRBNB to limit use of travelers' names as an anti-racism experiment in Oregon. For at least two years, rental hosts in the state of Oregon will see only guests' initials until after the bookings have been confirmed.https://t.co/bvRJbo2IZn
— Allen Kimble, Jr. (@allen_kimble) January 4, 2022
The new policy is set to begin on Jan. 31. Airbnb released a statement regarding the new approach to fighting racial discrimination.
“Airbnb has no tolerance for discrimination, and we have taken a number of steps to help fight bias. Some of these initiatives include requiring all Hosts and guests to agree to the Airbnb Community Commitment, which requires everyone who uses Airbnb to treat others without discrimination and with respect. We changed the way we display profile photos to encourage more objective bookings. And to help us more effectively identify and work to eliminate disparities in how our community members experience Airbnb, we’ve also launched Project Lighthouse, a privacy-centric research methodology, in partnership with Color Of Change and guidance from civil rights and privacy experts.”
Liz DeBold Fusco also noted that the policy was experimental and would be limited to Oregon.
“Given that the impact of this change is unknown, the implementation will be limited” she said.
The new policy stems from a racism lawsuit filed against Airbnb in 2019. Carlotta Franklin, Pat Harrington and Ebony Price sued the company after being discriminated against by an Airbnb host in Oregon.
“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,”
The company also launched an initiative with the NAACP to conduct outreach focused on Black and Brown communities and increase diversity. The new Airbnb policy will begin in Oregon on Jan. 31.