Wednesday, January 19

Changes the rules after accusations of racial discrimination

People who rent out their home on the Airbnb website in the state of Oregon in the USA will no longer have the opportunity to see the name of those who will rent their home, reports The Guardian.

The change comes after three black women in the Portland area sued Airbnb and claimed that the rental site’s use of names and photos allowed racial discrimination and violated state laws on public accommodation.

CHANGING THE RULES: Landlords on the Airbnb website in Oregon in the US will no longer have access to guests’ names until the booking is approved. The goal is to avoid racial discrimination. Photo: Charles Platiau / Reuters / NTB

The case was concluded in 2019, and as of January 31, Airbnb hosts in Oregon will only see guests’ initials until their booking is confirmed. It is only after this that the guest’s full name will be visible to the landlord.

Accusations of discrimination on the rental side are not new, and in 2015 and 2016 the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack got a lot of attention on social media. There, several black users of the platform told about having been denied orders until they changed their name online or used generic profile pictures.

The allegations were confirmed in a study at Harvard Business School in 2016, where researchers concluded that requests from guests with “characteristic African-American names” were 16 percent less likely to be accepted as tenants compared to identical guests with “pronounced white names.”

According to Airbnb, the change will remain in the state for at least two years.

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