Yelp To Flag Businesses Accused Of Racist Behavior

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Topline

 Yelp will alert users when a business has been accused of egregious racist behavior in a credible news story, the company announced Friday, the first prominent reviews platform to make such a move in the wake of racial justice protests across the U.S.

Key Facts

A Yelp spokesperson told Forbes that a team of human moderators will place a notice on a company’s Yelp page stating “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” if there’s “resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions from a business owner or employee, such as using overtly racist slurs or symbols.”

The alert will include a link to a credible news outlet where users can read about the accusations in detail.

Since Yelp doesn’t allow users to leave reviews based solely on media reports, the company hopes the alert system will help customers make “decisions about whether they’ll be welcome and safe at a particular business.”

There are still questions about moderation, including what counts as “resounding evidence” in a news story, what media outlets Yelp is counting as “credible” or exactly how long a notification will remain on a business’ page.

A Yelp spokesperson said alerts “can appear for days or several weeks” as it removes reviews that aren’t based on first-hand experience.

Chief Critics

Right-wing pundits slammed the announcement, arguing businesses could be hurt by false or disputed accusations. “What are the odds that this isn’t insanely abused?” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

Crucial Quote

“At Yelp, we value diversity, inclusion and belonging, both internally and on our platform, which means we have a zero tolerance policy to racism,” Noorie Malik, VP of User Operations, said in a blog post. “We know these values are important to our users and now more than ever, consumers are increasingly conscious of the types of businesses they patronize and support.

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