Social media reacts: Airbnb hosts on PWD accommodations

AirBnb. This revolutionary platform has made it easy for people to list and book accommodations worldwide; sort of like Uber, but for booking homes as opposed to rides. Among many apps and websites now surfacing for people to connect and offer services among communities, Airbnb provides means for people to showcase their homes, apartments, villas by having them up for booking so “guests/bookers” could have a place to stay anytime, anywhere. However, because it is merely a platform, it is us, the users that have the ability to abuse or misuse it.

We are only human. The fact that Airbnb users are made of humans, there would be an expectation for guests to come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and genders; all abilities and disabilities.But, The Verge’s article: “Airbnb hosts reject guests with disabilities more often, researchers say” reminds us that with humanity, comes the inevitability of judgement and discrimination.

In the article, it was stated that researchers at Rutgers found that PWD guests who do not reveal of their disability, earn a “pre-approval” from their Airbnb Host 74.5% of the time. However, those who do immediately reveal of their disabilities such as dwarfism and blindness only get approved 60.9% of the time and 49.7% of the time respectively. Among gender bias and racial profiling, emerges this new issue of hosts rejecting disabled guests. Possibly due to the infeasibility of their homes to guests or even discrimination. However, Airbnb, slowly but surely, is doing what they can to lessen this through strict anti-discrimination policies.

Because issues like this are rarely discussed on social media, we decided to write headlines of this story for awareness, and to possibly get our social media followers/friends a new perspective on the existing discrimination, still, within society.

We chose to include “Airbnb” in our headlines, alongside our sentiments, so that instantly, people would assume there is an issue with the company. However, it is also a test to see if people would click on the link and discover who is really responsible for the issue. Can Airbnb really do something about it? Or is it more of a societal issue?

Promoting the issue regarding Airbnb was difficult since Airbnb is not common knowledge for most Filipinos. Only a few people on Facebook and Twitter were receptive to the headline the group released. Though it gained much following and intrigue as time passed by. People even read the whole article by giving feedback courtesy of Facebook’s messenger and comments section, although most expressed their indignation on the topic at hand with Facebook reactions.

People’s reception on Twitter however, slightly differs from Facebook. Though the option of liking on Twitter is the same as Facebook, Twitter offers its users the option of retweeting it. Though the counterpart of retweeting on Twitter is sharing on Facebook, it seems that people are more receptive to retweeting or sharing things on Twitter as compared to Facebook. Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not have the option to react with emojis. What respondents on Twitter lacked were expressed sentiments on the topic. Most if not all merely liked the article and retweeted it. Tumblr on the other hand, had no respondents on the issue.

Different people could interpret the story differently depending on its headline. In the activity, we could see how composing the headline properly in various social media platforms is important. Through the headline that was posted on social media, it paved way for some people to get involve about this issue. People reacted differently based from their personal thoughts. There are more reacts in Facebook compared to both Twitter and Tumblr because people are more active in Facebook. With this activity, it served as a way to test the people whether they would click the link and know more about the issue or just ignore it. At the same time, due to the short attention span among people who use these social media platforms, it is advisable to be able to compose short yet meaningful headlines.