Airbnb improves anti-discrimination policy

Online rental marketplace Airbnb will address reports of widespread racial discrimination against non-white guests by displaying photos less prominently on its website, promoting instant bookings and changing some of its technology, according to a report commissioned by the company, Reuters informs

The report, released on Thursday, followed months of criticism of Airbnb, sparked partly by comments under Twitter hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack about discrimination against black people.

"Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them," Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky wrote in an email to users. "Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry."

Before the end of the year, Airbnb will roll out changes to its reservation request system that emphasize trip details, reviews and verified IDs while testing various formats that downplay users' photos, said the report from Laura Murphy & Associates.

The company will also implement technology that prevents hosts from booking new guests if they tell another guest their listing is unavailable for the same time frame.

The changes received mixed reviews from civil rights organizations and other critics.

"Technology can bring us together and technology shouldn't ask us to hide who we are," reads the report.

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