Airbnb Adopts Rules to Fight Discrimination by its Hosts
The new policies may not be a good change for hosts. The company intends to play down the use of guest & host profile photos, which means we might not be able to see who’s asking to stay at our homes and a guest might not be able to see who they’re staying with. One of the rules of thumb that I was taught by hosts that I know personally: don’t rent to people who don’t use a profile photo, simply because it indicates an inclination towards lack of transparency and a certain level of disengagement. Neither of those traits translate into a good guest.
While the motivation to reduce race-based decisions is worthwhile, the new policies put hosts at the mercy of random accusations by guests. No options were mentioned in the new policy outlines for hosts to defend themselves against unsubstantiated accusations of prejudice. Though I understand that the company had to make a dramatic move to offset the public perception (and lawsuits) regarding the acts of discrimination, I’m afraid that the new policies could be a blow to the freedom of hosts. Most of us are nondiscriminatory or we wouldn’t be openly inviting strangers to stay with us.