Airbnb will block its hosts in the state of Oregon from seeing guests’ full names in an effort to prevent discrimination on the platform.
The change, which will by fully implemented by the end of January and in effect for at least two years, will display a guest’s initials in place of the guest’s full name until a booking request is confirmed. Once a booking is confirmed, the guest’s full name will appear.
The new policy in Oregon comes after a 2019 lawsuit in which three Black plaintiffs alleged Airbnb’s display of names and photographs allowed hosts to discriminate against customers based on race. The suit was settled the same year.
Airbnb says it will take any learnings from the experiment and use them to inform future efforts to fight bias.
“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,” the company says in a statement.
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Many Black travelers have been vocal about feeling shut out of the travel market and have called on travel brands to take action on racial diversity.
In 2020, as the Black Lives Matter movement rose to prominence, Airbnb in partnership with civil rights organization Color of Change launched an initiative called Project Lighthouse, designed to uncover, measure and overcome discrimination on the platform.
Airbnb also requires all of its hosts and guests to agree to the Airbnb Community Commitment, which requires everyone using the site to treat others without discrimination and with respect. As of June 2020, Airbnb said it had removed 1.3 million users since 2016 who declined to agree to the commitment.