Airbnb will address reports of widespread racial discrimination against non-white guests by displaying photos less prominently on its website, promoting instant bookings and changing some of its technology, according to Reuters, citing a report commissioned by the company.
The report, released on Thursday, followed months of criticism of Airbnb, sparked partly by comments under Twitter hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack about discrimination against black people, the news agency said.
“Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them,” chief executive Brian Chesky wrote in an email to users. “Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry.”
Before the end of the year, the online home rental website will roll out changes to its reservation request system that emphasize trip details, reviews and verified IDs while testing various formats that downplay users’ photos, said the report from Laura Murphy & Associates.
San Francisco-based Airbnb will also expand its instant booking program, which allows guests who meet preferences preset by hosts to make reservations without prior approval, to one million of its two million listings by January.
Under that program, hosts can require guests to provide Airbnb with government-issued ID or have a 4.5 out of five-star rating to be approved for booking.
Hosts can also cancel bookings without paying a fee if they have issues with guests’ behavior.
The company will also implement technology that prevents hosts from booking new guests if they tell another guest their listing is unavailable for the same time frame.
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