Airbnb reminds users of Project Lighthouse anti-discrimination initiative

Airbnb VP: The world is changing, this is how we adapt and innovate in the new travel industry

Chris Lehane, Airbnb VP of Global Policy and Communications, spoke to Fox News about how Airbnb is innovating to meet new behavioral trends in the travel industry.

Two weeks ago, Airbnb launched an anti-discrimination initiative and this week, the company reminded users of how the program works.

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In an email sent to users on Wednesday, the home-sharing company reiterated exactly how Project Lighthouse will work, by using information from hosts and guests to “uncover, measure and overcome discrimination” on the platform, the email said.

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Project Lighthouse is focused on addressing “discrimination that’s based on perception,” according to the email. Therefore, Airbnb will only use information that users have shared with the company, including first names and profile pictures.

The company will use that information to “uncover patterns of discrimination” in order to inform and develop new policies and features — not for marketing or advertising, the email said.

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The focus of the project is on larger trends, so “perceived race information” won’t be connected with individual accounts, according to the email.

The email also said that the project was developed with the help of civil rights organizations and privacy organizations including Color of Change, Upturn and the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky is pictured in April 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

According to the email, Airbnb users who don’t want their first names and profile pictures to be used in the program should opt out by Aug. 31.

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Airbnb first announced the launch of Project Lighthouse on June 15.

At the time, Fox News reported that Airbnb users will now have to agree to a non-discrimination policy and that users’ profile pictures won’t be displayed until bookings are confirmed, as part of the new initiative.

The company also promised to “investigate instances of discrimination and help users find another place to stay in those circumstances,” Fox reported.

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