Airbnb goes the extra mile to tamp down on racism
Airbnb recently released a report to demonstrate stringent measures which would be implemented to stamp-out discrimination inflicted on users of the platform. Laura Murphy, formerly with the American Civil Liberties Union, recently joined Airbnb to direct its anti-discrimination actions: this report was authored by Murphy. Little over two years ago in July 2014, Airbnb changed its slogan to "belong anywhere".
Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Joe Gebbia, Mr. Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk. It's an online marketplace that allows users to rent rooms in houses, apartments, castles or even tree houses! Values such as inclusiveness and trust are central to its message and core reputation. The company describes itself as "both a community and a movement."
Off late, allegations of racist and discriminatory incidents have been voiced by Airbnb users. The controversy gained prominence when a Harvard study found that people with 'names that sounded black' were less likely to be accepted for rentals. In July 2016, Mr. Chesky wrote on Airbnb's blog that they failed to anticipate possible discrimination while creating Airbnb and treated discrimination as "their greatest challenge".
"Discrimination is the opposite of belonging, and its existence on our platform jeopardizes this core mission. Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them." He acknowledged that Airbnb's response to this issue was slow and expressed his regret.
Leaving no stone unturned in fulfilling its promise of "belonging anywhere" Airbnb assured users that if they were unable to find accommodation due to discrimination, Airbnb would ensure "the guest finds a place to stay." In a scenario where accommodation is not available on Airbnb, users would be directed towards alternative accommodation off Airbnb. This radical new policy is being called "Open Doors."
Airbnb users are now mandated to agree to 'Airbnb Community Compact'; the document lays down guidelines as to when guests may or may not be denied accommodation. 'Instant bookings' will be increased allowing users to book accommodation without prior screening by hosts. Reviews from former hosts will be given significance over profile photos; more diversity will be encouraged at senior positions at Airbnb.
In July 2014, to underline its motto of "making people belong anywhere", Airbnb re-branded with a logo called 'Belo'. 'Belo' was introduced as a "symbol of belonging".