The policy, designed with the aid of former Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderAirbnb cracking down on discrimination Obama's use of clemency power sparks criticism Airbnb celebrates voting rights bill while confronting discrimination allegations MORE, is more detailed than the company's previous guidance on discrimination.
Airbnb - which has faced widespread backlash over hosts refusing to rent to black guests - released a 30-page report on Thursday outlining new nondiscrimination policies and systems created to address user complaints.
Another change to be instituted, in which Holder has had a heavy hand, is a strengthening of the company's anti-discrimination policy, requiring both hosts and guests to go above and beyond the applicable federal, state and local laws. The hashtag emerged following reports by black users that hosts were declining them rooms based on their race and in some cases lobbing racial slurs at them over the platform. "Change comes when you have tough, honest conversations, which I think Airbnb has done; when you have genuine self-reflection, which I think they have engaged in; and when you come up with proposals for bold action". "Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry".
"I take responsibility for any pain or frustration this has caused members of our community", Chesky said in a statement.
Aside from rolling out a new set of policies for renters to abide by, Airbnb has also created a new team of engineers meant to help find and end any bias the company may have during operation. That team will re-evaluate how photos are used on the platform, which some have criticized as a source of discrimination.
The new policies, which go into effect November 1, also includes a program for training hosts on racial bias.
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The company declined to remove the use of photos from listings, an idea that some have pushed for. The company said it is going to implement a new anti-discrimination policy. Last October, Airbnb said its workforce was 63 percent white, 22 percent Asian, 7.1 percent Hispanic or Latino and 2.9 percent black. "We are a community of millions of people".
Some of the new measures include displaying user photos less prominently, promoting Instant Book listings, and an "Open Doors" policy to ensure guests who can not book a listing because of discrimination will find a place to stay.
Thursday's 32-page discrimination report (which SFist has requested a copy of) was complied for Airbnb by Laura Murphy, a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington legislative office who began work for the rental company in June.
The company had come under fire after reports of discrimination on the site, and Airbnb has been taken to task for not adequately responding to reports of discrimination. "Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them". Colors for Change was included in discussions with Murphy and Airbnb for months following #AirbnbWhileBlack, where black users shared stories where they experienced racism on the platform.
Meanwhile, Henderson - president and chief executive of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights - spoke to The New York Times about the report.