A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

Administrator
4,023 Views

Two weeks ago, we announced donations to the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter foundation, and we shared antiracism resources with our hosts and guests. But these are just some of the actions we’ve taken. Another project we’ve been working on is one that will allow us to better understand and address racism and bias on Airbnb.

 

Project Lighthouse is a groundbreaking initiative we’re launching in the United States to uncover, measure, and overcome discrimination when booking or hosting on Airbnb. 

 

Built to uncover discrimination

  • Discrimination is based on perception—and on Airbnb, people perceive race from things like first names and profile photos. Together, with civil rights organizations like Color Of Change and Upturn, we're beginning with research to understand when and where racial discrimination happens on our platform and the effectiveness of policies that fight it. 

 

Designed with privacy in mind

  • We worked with leading privacy organizations like the Center for Democracy & Technology to understand the best methods for privacy protection so we make sure you're protected. We analyze trends in bulk, and Airbnb won’t associate perceived race information with specific accounts.

 

We’ll reach out with more details by June 30, and while anyone will be able to opt out, we’ve made it effortless to take part. If you’re a U.S.-based host or guest who has not opted out, we may randomly select your profile photo and first name to gather insights. 

 

We want you to know that as our team developed this project, we repeatedly sought feedback from the host community—we appreciate your thoughts on such an important topic.

We’ll follow up with more details, but in the meantime, we’re answering your questions in this Resource Center article about how the process works, how we’ll respect the privacy of participants, and more. 

 

As always, thank you for being a host and for working with us to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere. 


Learn more about Project Lighthouse

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33 Replies

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Airbnb   "We want you to know that as our team developed this project, we repeatedly sought feedback from the host community—we appreciate your thoughts on such an important topic."

 

Where and how exactly did you repeatedly seek feedback from the host community? There has been no mention of this on the CC at all. Isn't that your main source of information from the host community?You make these sorts of claims with no transparency or explanation whatsoever. Please be forthcoming with how you solicited feedback from hosts on this.

 

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

Administrator in
London, United Kingdom
Administrator

Hello @Sarah977,

 

Airbnb has a number of different ways feedback is gathered depending on the project or initiative taking place. The CC is of course one of the main ways, but other sources such as Listening Sessions, local Facebook groups, Community Support, dedicated research groups and surveys all contribute.

 

The Community Center is certainly a key place for Airbnb to hear host feedback and come back to hosts and I hope we can only build on this further in the future. 

 

Thanks,

 

Lizzie

 


--------------------


I'm currently on maternity leave. I look forward to catching up when I return. In the meantime, please contact another member of the Community Manager team: Personal Update


Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Lizzie 

 

You know far too well that "Listening Groups" are only a tick-box exercise and their only transparency is that you will only listen to what you want to hear.

 

The Lighthouse project is just an excuse to force through instant bookings. Lets see how that transpires.

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
SF, CA
Level 10

For anyone skeptical of the concept of systemic racism, read this very troubling story from the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-black-pastor-was-arrested-simply-for-defending-himself-on-...

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 10

@James1 

"It is impossible to imagine that scenario playing out in reverse"

Exactly 😞

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Airbnb @Lizzie   I'm curious, will opting in or out affect the search ranking, e.g. is there a bump/benefit if you opt in, will your listing be lower in the search results if you don't opt in?  

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

Administrator in
London, United Kingdom
Administrator

Hey @Mark116,

 

I hope you are doing ok. 

 

The data from project lighthouse will not have any impact on an individual’s product experience.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Thanks,

Lizzie

 


--------------------


I'm currently on maternity leave. I look forward to catching up when I return. In the meantime, please contact another member of the Community Manager team: Personal Update


Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Stevenson, WA
Level 2

I'm not sure if Lizzie answered the way you and I are curious.  Have you received any more info on whether Airbnb has changed Search ranking like they did with the Covid cleaning "test"?

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Boise, ID
Level 10

@Airbnb  you want to do something really helpful?  Allow ALL hosts to see profile pics, ratings and FULL names BEFORE a booking is accepted.

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Alpharetta, GA
Level 2

The absence of a picture profile and full name are not important unless the host/hostess has some underlining racist tendencies and intend to accept a booking based on race and origin.  Any host or guest who make decision based on racial and origin background should be banned by Airbnb.  Nevertheless it is highly helpful to see rating and guest profile as to type of activities the guests are involved in, occupation, reason they are in town and specific reasons they choose your place

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

 

We have Instant Book switched on and having a profile photo is irrelevant since you never get to see it till after booking. Why it should ever be an issue is a mystery. So why is there so much spin about evaluating profile perceptions? The use of IB is precautionary for us at best, this relying on the integration of calendars with other platforms to ensure no double bookings and to ensure uninterrupted booking ability. Greater care and attention should be taken and applied in this and the glitch free running of the platform as a greater priority to any other folly.

 

Where you prefer to know more about the details and activities of your guests could you be guilty of discrimination under social stereotypes if for instance, a booking stated it was for a Flower arranging festival or one was for an ‘undesirable event’?

 

Having to pass an interview before being allowed to book accommodation can be equally discriminatory and the power is on the side of the host in this situation, provided by AirBnb in the guise of the Accept button. Many hosts prefer this arrangement, understandably so. This is at risk.

 

Ultimately, non-discrimination will result in the imposition of IB for all hosts. Nothing any host can say anywhere will have any influence on this. Once AirBnb have an agenda they will railroad it through regardless. Leaving the platform will be hosts’ only real solution, and this after the pledge of AirBnb to go back to ‘root values’ too.

 

Might AirBnb listen? Ask yourself - was there a ’Kindness Card’ opt-out button introduced?

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Wilmington, NC
Level 1

Why is it important why they choose your place

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
Albuquerque, NM
Level 4

@Timothy291 because locals can have a valid reason to book like they have a broken hot water heater. OR they "want to have friends over and their place is to small." The second example is probably a party while the first probably isn't.

Re: A new way we're fighting discrimination on Airbnb

in
New York, NY
Level 2

@Timothy291  we have small children, so if a guest is wanting to throw a party, or have the girls over the night before the wedding, we would rather not host that.  We have to go to work and to school, and we reserve our space for travelers who have come to see NYC, not trash our place with a big loud party.  We also don't take film crew requests from film students.  They want inexpensive film locations, which i get, but film crews are havoc on locations, because they think of it as a work place and not someone's home.  I know, I'm in the business.

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