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Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky (Jeff Chiu / AP)

Airbnb users pay more attention to other users' reviews and profile ratings than they do to the social similarities between them, a Stanford study found. On average, users preferred hosts with high ratings over others that shared demographic similarities but had low scores.

The backdrop: Airbnb has implemented a series of changes to its platform to attempt to curb discrimination based on social biases, including removing user photos, which indicate race and gender, from the search listings page and asking users to agree to an anti-bias pledge.

The context: A 2016 Harvard study found that "requests with black-sounding names were 16% less likely than those with white-sounding names to be accepted" on Airbnb. Harvard researchers also found that "non-black hosts are able to charge approximately 12% more than black hosts, holding location, rental characteristics, and quality constant."

The study: Stanford researchers collected data on gender, age, home state and marital status from about 9,000 U.S. Airbnb users and asked them to judge other users' profiles. Some profiles the participants were shown were demographically identical to them — based on those factors — and others had received high ratings. Participants tended to weigh users' reputations more than the demographic similarities between them.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.