Airbnb plans to stop revealing guests’ names on its platform until a booking request is confirmed, but the change is only going to be implemented in the state of Oregon. The change stems from a lawsuit that was brought against in 2019 by three Black women who lived in the Portland area.
The lawsuit claimed by requiring guests to disclose their full names and photographs, Airbnb was allowing hosts to discriminate against Black users. That would be in violation of Oregon’s public accommodation laws.
A field study conducted by researchers at Harvard Business School in 2016 found that on Airbnb, requests from guests with distinctively African American names were roughly 16 percent less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively white names.Airbnb has been trying to actively solve for racial discrimination on its platform, launching Project Lighthouse in June 2020. It aims to measure discrimination based on perception through a methodology that determines the race someone might associate with a first name and profile photo.