Former US attorney general joins Airbnb bias review

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Former US attorney general joins Airbnb bias review

Washington (AFP) – Airbnb said Wednesday it had hired former US attorney general Eric Holder for its review aimed at rooting out discrimination at the home-sharing service.

The review, announced in June, “highlighted the importance of fighting both explicit racism and the implicit biases that can lead to discrimination,” according to a statement by Airbnb.

Holder “has agreed to join our team to help craft a world-class anti-discrimination policy,” the statement from Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky said.

“While we have a policy that prohibits discrimination, we want this policy to be stronger. And we will require everyone who uses our platform to read and certify that they will follow this policy.”

Airbnb has already enlisted former American Civil Liberties Union head Laura Murphy to lead its discrimination-fighting efforts.

The high-profile campaign to ferret out discrimination at the popular home-sharing service came after an Airbnb host in the US state of North Carolina fired off hateful, race-based messages to a black woman while canceling a stay she had booked at his home.

The San Francisco-based startup said the recent spate of shootings involving police and black citizens underscore a need to do more to fight discrimination.

“It’s not enough to just offer our sympathies,” Chesky said.

“We aren’t so naive to think that one company can solve these problems, but we understand that we have an obligation to be honest about our own shortcomings, and do more to get our house in order. That’s why we’ve been talking more openly about discrimination and bias on our platform, and are currently engaged in a process to prevent it.”

Holder, 65, was the first black attorney general in US history, and served in the Obama administration from 2009 until last year, when he was replaced by Loretta Lynch.

A campaign to ferret out discrimination at Airbnb came after a host in North Carolina fired off hateful, race-based messages to a black woman while canceling a stay she had booked at his home
Copyright AFP/File Martin Bureau

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