Posted on December 18, 2022

Airbnb Cuts 4,000 Hosts for Violating Nondiscrimination Policy, Including Racial Bias

Rachel Koning Beals, Market Watch, December 13, 2022

Airbnb Inc., which faced a spate of backlash for charges of racial profiling of guests before initiating tougher standards, has bounced nearly 4,000 accounts from its home-sharing app this year for violating its nondiscrimination policy.

The policy asks hosts to treat guests with respect and without judgment or bias based on factors like race. The 2022 figure marks a decline from the 5,100 accounts removed last year.

Roughly 1.2 million users globally have been either removed from the platform or denied access to Airbnb since June 2020 for failing to commit to its nondiscrimination policy, says an update to an internal report released Tuesday. Airbnb has more than 4 million hosts around the world as of March this year.

Airbnb focused its initial review of discrimination potential on its booking success rate in the U.S., or the rate at which guests from different perceived racial groups successfully book a stay.

In 2021, guests perceived to be white had the highest booking success rate at 94.1%, while guests perceived to be Black had a rate of 91.4%. {snip}

The figures released Tuesday are part of an update to a platform equity audit that was first conducted six years ago. And it includes new data from Project Lighthouse, an initiative launched in 2020 to address disparities people of color experience on Airbnb.

“In partnership with Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization with millions of members, and with guidance from civil rights and privacy rights organizations, Airbnb will launch a groundbreaking project to measure and fight bias and discrimination,” the company said when it launched the effort.


In 2015 and 2016, the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack circulated on social media, highlighting racism experienced by some of the platform’s users. {snip}

study conducted by Harvard Business School researchers affirmed these anecdotes. After studying 6,400 Airbnb listings in five American cities, the study concluded that “requests from guests with distinctively African American names are roughly 16% less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively white names.”

In Portland, Ore., a suit was settled in 2019 in favor of three Black women who alleged the rental site’s use of names and photographs allowed for racial discrimination, violating the state’s public accommodation laws. Airbnb then initiated a policy that hosts would only see a guest’s initials until a booking is confirmed, after which their full name is visible.