Airbnb examines racial inequalities on its platform

Photo: sdx15 (Shutterstock)

Over the years, short-term rental platform Airbnb has faced its fair share of backlash from users of color who have experienced discrimination when booking a stay. Now, two years after launching an initiative to learn more about racial inequality on the platform, Airbnb is speaking out about the work they’re doing to make things fairer.

In 2020, the company partnered with various civil rights organizations, including Color of Change, NAACP, and National Action Network, to roll out Flagship Projectan initiative designed to understand how discrimination occurs on Airbnb and develop an actionable action plan to overcome it.

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Through their research, Airbnb measured the “reservation success rate,” the rate at which guests from different racial groups have their reservations confirmed. Although they found that more than 90% of customers had no problem confirming their reservations, further analysis revealed that the experience was significantly more difficult for people of color. Users considered white were more than 94% successful in booking their stays, while the rate dropped to 91% for those perceived as black. I’m not even going to try to understand what “perceived as black” means.

“It’s a significant difference, and it’s unacceptable,” Janaye Ingram, director of programs and community partner engagement at Airbnb, said in an interview with CNN. “That’s something we obviously don’t agree with, and we’re doing a lot to address it.”

Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, believes Airbnb’s efforts are working and says the company’s willingness to hold itself accountable sets an example for others.

“Racial audits work, as long as companies make the necessary changes to address what they are exposing. Six years after Airbnb’s first racial audit, and two years after Color Of Change brokered Project Lighthouse, Airbnb is now a leading example of what it looks like to support racial justice rhetoric with politics, practice and personnel that can prevent endemic racial spread. discrimination,” he said.

In a statement on his website, Airbnb expressed its continued commitment to eradicating racism on its platform. “Our mission has always been to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. Racism, hatred and discrimination go against everything we believe in as a company and a global community.

One thing is certain: black people will definitely watch.

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