Ensuring Your Products Aren’t Used for Discrimination

Crises often lead people to look for “someone” to blame, and the blame often lands on marginalized ethnic or religious groups. Tragic events led to Japanese internment camps during World War II and anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of 9/11,

In the context of Covid-19, our ongoing research has found that the racial scapegoating and anti-Asian sentiment during the early stage of the pandemic caused both emotional and economic damage. Looking at hundreds of thousands of bookings on Airbnb, we find that there was a spike in discrimination against Asian-American Airbnb users early in the pandemic.

Business leaders need to be aware of these risks. They also need tools to identify, measure, and mitigate bias, and a proactive approach that anticipates and identifies discrimination.

In this article, we provide an overview of our research, focusing on Airbnb as a case study. We then provide a framework for leaders to help create environments that are less susceptible…

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This article was written by Michael Luca and originally published on hbr.org