Photo Credit: Taylor Grote
Airbnb Will Hide Guest Names And Photos On Oregon Bookings To Prevent Discrimination
Vacation rental company Airbnb claims they are attempting to fight discrimination and racial prejudice by initially hiding guest names on bookings in Oregon.
According to a statement on the company’s website, Oregon hosts will only be able to see guests’ initials before approving a stay. They will no longer be able to see guests’ names until after the booking is confirmed.
The new rule, which is specific only to the Pacific Northwest state, will go into effect starting January 31, and will remain in effect for at least two years. It came about after three Black women from Portland suggested that the displaying of customer photos and names on the booking site enables Airbnb hosts to discriminate on the basis of race.
The plaintiffs, Pat Harrington, Carlotta Franklin, and Ebony Price, said that requiring users to reveal their photos and full names prior to booking allowed hosts to discriminate against Black users, and that this policy was a violation of Oregon’s public accommodation laws.
Airbnb settled the lawsuit in 2019.
Research shows the women likely had a point. In fact, a 2016 study by the Harvard Business School found that Airbnb guests with African American-sounding names were 16 percent less likely to be accepted by a host than those with white-sounding names.
“Airbnb has no tolerance for discrimination, and we have taken a number of steps to help fight bias,” the company said in a statement on its website. “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. 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.”