Yelp Adding Alerts to Warn Users About Businesses Accused of Racist Behavior
On Thursday, the crowd-sourced review company announced on its blog the launch of a new alert system to notify users of businesses that have been accused of racist behavior.
Any business that Yelp has determined to have "resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions" will see the alert show up on its page, according to the blog post.
In addition to the notification, Yelp said it will provide users with a link to a credible news article where they can learn more about the racist incident.
"At Yelp, we value diversity, inclusion and belonging, both internally and on our platform, which means we have a zero-tolerance policy to racism," the company wrote on the blog. "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."
"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," Yelp added.
In order to ensure that all reviews posted on the business' page are based on a first-hand experience, the company said when they "notice an unusual spike in activity" regarding racist behavior, they will temporarily disable the ability to leave reviews and investigate the matter.
"This policy is critical to mitigating fake reviews and maintaining the integrity of content on our platform," Yelp explained. "We don’t allow people to leave reviews based on media reports because it can artificially inflate or deflate a business’s star rating."
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In the event that employees are unable to find evidence, Yelp will default to their already-existing "Public Attention Alert," which informs users if someone associated with the business was associated with or accused of racist behavior, the blog states.
According to the company, more than 450 alerts of businesses engaging in racist behavior were issued between May 26 and Sept. 30, and reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses increased by 617% this summer compared to last summer.
The uptick appears to have coincided with George Floyd's death, which prompted protests against racial injustice across the U.S.
Along with establishing the alerts, Yelp confirmed they were also contributing to the fight against racism by partnering with My Black Receipt, which aims to provide support to Black-owned businesses, and joining the 15 Percent Pledge, which calls on retailers to commit at least 15% of their products to those of Black-owned businesses.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org tries to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.