Starting Thursday, Yelp has added an alert on the pages of businesses that have been accused of racist behavior. They said this is following several widely covered allegations of racism at United States restaurants in recent months.
Yelp is often the first place customers go to make claims about discriminatory or racist behavior at businesses, as well as discouraging other potential patrons from spending their money there. Many are concerned the platform will be used by activists to deter people from using certain businesses.
Yelp said in blog post:
“Communities have always turned to Yelp in reaction to current events at the local level. As the nation reckons with issues of systemic racism, we’ve seen in the last few months that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions.”
“Between May 26 and September 30, we placed more than 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of, or the target of, racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement,” the company said. “We have maintained around-the-clock support over the last few months to ensure that we’re maintaining the trust and safety of our users and business owners.”
NBC Washington reports:
The new “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” alert, paired with a red icon, will appear at the top of the page for a business that has been accused of “overtly racist actions” that have been covered by the media. It will also include a link to a news article where the user can read more about the incident. Yelp’s public attention alert, which launched earlier this year in response to Black Lives Matter protests, will be placed as a warning on pages for businesses that receive increased attention, whether they’re being accused of racist behavior or are being targeted by racist reviews.
A surge of attention now that Yelp has announced the new policy, may lead to a massive influx of fake reviews from people who don’t have firsthand experience visiting a particular business. As a result, those reviews can artificially inflate or deflate a business’ star rating on Yelp.
Yelp claims the new alert is designed to help provide context so people can make their own decisions about whether or not to patronize a business.
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