AirBnB has a big problem.
It's not local legislators clamping down on their operations (though that's more than a touch irksome), nor is it increasing competition from copy-cat apps.
It's racism. And CEO Brian Chesky knows it all too well.
He recently told the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference of Aspen, Colorado, that the biggest issue the flat renting app currently faces is "the discrimination we are having on our platform".
It's a subject that's gained increased attention ever since Medium published the story of Rohan Gilkes - a black man who found a property he was eager to rent was continually unavailable to him, but became miraculously free once his white friend booked the same dates. On discussing this story, and the #AirbnbWhileBlack hashtag that sprang up to share similar accounts, a member of the tech conference added her own similar experience.
According to Business Insider UK, she suggested part of the issue was the lack of diversity within AirBnB itself.
"I totally agree," said Chesky. "What happens inside the building manifests outside the building. There's no question we are late.
"As a founder, I think we were late to this issue. We were so focused on an issue of trust and keeping people safe, responding to other people's issues on trust and safety, that we took our eye off the ball."
AirBnB is now apparently engaged in a 90-day study on how to best overcome issues of discrimination and racism from its app users.
"When we designed the platform, three white guys, there were a lot of things we didn't think about," said Chesky. "There are racists in the world and we need to have zero tolerance."
[Via: Business Insider UK]