Airbnb to Crack Down on Discrimination

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Airbnb is changing how it handles discrimination.

Following claims of racism by hosts on the home-sharing platform, the company is rolling out a stronger, more detailed nondiscrimination policy.

"We aren't just asking you to check a box associated with a long legal document," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in an email to hosts and guests.

Beginning Nov. 1, users must agree to the new Airbnb Community Commitment, which states that "no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong"—regardless of race, religion, nationality, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.

"Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them, [but] we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry," Chesky said, promising to not only "make this right," but also set an example for other companies.

Airbnb will provide anti-bias training to users, who will be publicly acknowledged after completing it.

The San Francisco-based firm also announced a new Open Doors policy: Starting Oct. 1, if a guest anywhere in the world feels discriminated against in violation of the new policy, Airbnb will find them a similar place to stay, if available, or an alternative accommodation.

The program applies retroactively, so anyone who reported intolerance prior to today will be offered booking assistance for their next trip.

Plus, Instant Book availability is getting a boost, allowing more hosts to open their home without prior approval of a specific guest—a sort of blind contract that helps move the process along.

"These steps are just the beginning, not the end, of our efforts to combat bias and discrimination," Chesky wrote. "We are a community of millions of people. Imagine what we can do together."

In June, Airbnb launched a massive review of its entire platform, looking for ways to fight bias and discrimination; the company even contracted Laura Murphy, former head of the ACLU's Legislative Office and former US Attorney General to lead the process. Read Murphy's 32-page report, titled "Airbnb's Work to Fight Discrimination and Build Inclusion," online.

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