Tech. Science. Culture.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Airbnb Removes 4,000 Accounts for Violating Its Non-Discrimination Policy

The company has faced claims that some hosts on its platform routinely engage in discrimination while booking guests.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Airbnb suspended 4,000 accounts who violated its nondiscrimination policy
Image: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Airbnb announced on Tuesday it has removed nearly 4,000 accounts globally from its platform this year, after finding those users had violated its non-discrimination policy. The report was published by Project Lighthouse, an initiative Airbnb launched in 2020, and found that the number of accounts removed decreased from 5,100 last year.

In a news release, the company said it has used Project Lighthouse as a means to “uncover and address disparities in how people of color experience our platform, and how we are using these findings to guide our work to fight discrimination and make Airbnb more open and inclusive.”

Since Airbnb was founded nearly 15 years ago, it has grown to consist of more than 4 million hosts, but since June 2020, about 1.2 million users were also denied access or removed from the platform for not adhering to or committing to its non-discrimination policy.

Advertisement

Project Lighthouse’s report revealed the largest racial disparity was between guests perceived to be Black who had a 91.4% success rate when booking versus guests perceived to be white who had a 94.1% success rate.

Laura W. Murphy, a senior adviser for Airbnb’s anti-discrimination work, said in the news release, “I am excited that Airbnb is embracing transparency by using this report to share this data with the public.” She added that the company “is once again demonstrating its genuine commitment to fighting discrimination.”

Advertisement

To combat discrimination policy violations, Airbnb implemented an instant book feature that allows users to book a space without requiring the approval of the host. The company also updated its features in 2018 for listings that require the host’s approval before the booking is accepted. Under the feature, hosts can’t view the guest’s profile picture until after they accept the reservation.

“We are working to better understand how to increase trust between hosts and guests throughout the reservation process,” the company wrote in its news release. “That includes exploring changes to host and guest profiles to highlight information that can foster more connection. At the same time, we will further explore the impact that other features may have on the opportunity to create bias.”

Advertisement

The company says it will continue to innovate its platform using the information uncovered by Project Lighthouse to further expand its “ability to analyze reservation rejections,” and actively enforce its policies.

Airbnb Co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, said in the release, “Airbnb is built on trust, and we will continue to innovate and design new products and initiatives that increase acceptance and combat bias.”