Bias on Airbnb

Does Airbnb have a discrimination problem?

Airbnb may be facing a problem even bigger than its allegedly illegal hotels and practices. Many black users have been turned down for bookings and rentals because of their name or appearance, and the cause is gaining momentum on Twitter and other social media with the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack. A study out of Harvard confirmed the claims earlier this year, finding that hosts confirmed bookings with white-sounding names 50% of the time, compared to just 42% confirmations for black-sounding names. Airbnb acknowledges the problem and will take steps to address it, but it’s unclear what those steps will be. Harvard’s research found that users’ profile pictures are a key contributor to discrimination, but Airbnb seems unlikely to do away with the photo. (Travel Pulse, 05.09.2016)