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Yelp’s new consumer-alert tool about racist businesses gets mixed reactions

Yelp’s new consumer-alert tool about racist businesses gets mixed reactions

Yelp is taking a stand against racism with new consumer alert. (Photo: Yelp)
Yelp is taking a stand against racism with a new consumer alert. (Photo: Yelp)

Yelp is taking a stance against racism with the introduction of new consumer alerts in response to heightened activity around Black-owned businesses and those accused of discrimination.

The website dedicated to crowdsourced reviews of businesses announced the Public Attention alert and Business Accused of Racist Behavior alert on Thursday in a blog post that sparked mixed reactions — including from those expressing concern over the site’s trust in reviews written by anybody with an account. Yelp tells Yahoo Life that its new developments will help to improve the reliability of published reviews by investigating dramatic increases in activity and even accusations of racist behavior.

“Our top priority is to ensure the trust and safety of our community and provide users with reliable content to inform their spending decisions,” a Yelp spokesperson tells Yahoo Life, “including decisions about whether they’ll be welcome and safe at a particular business.”

In order to do so, the company has put consumer alerts in place to allow Yelp to do the necessary vetting in response to spikes in reviews that can come from people who haven’t even had firsthand experience at the business, but instead are reacting to attention that it has received in the media. Hence, the installment of the Public Attention alert, which will inform any visitor on a particular business’s Yelp page that the reviews may be a result of increased attention instead of specific firsthand experiences.

Users will receive a Public Attention Alert when businesses experience increased activity. (Photo: Yelp)
Users will receive a Public Attention alert when businesses experience increased activity. (Photo: Yelp)

“When a business makes the news, people often come to the business’s Yelp page to express their views. We have signals in place that will flag if a business page is seeing an unusual increase in activity,”

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Yelp rolls out new tactic to warn consumers about businesses accused of ‘overtly racist actions’

Yelp rolls out new tactic to warn consumers about businesses accused of ‘overtly racist actions’

Yelp has a zero tolerance policy for racism.

The company, which publishes and aggregates crowd-sourced business reviews, announced Thursday it will be placing a new “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” on Yelp pages to warn users about businesses that have been said to display “overtly racist actions.” They will also include a direct link to a news article for consumers to learn more about the reported incident.

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“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,” Noorie Malik, vice president of user operations, wrote in a blog post. “In fact, we’ve seen that reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses were up more than 617% this summer compared to last summer. Support for women-owned businesses has also increased, with review mentions up 114% for the same time period.”

Malik said that as the nation continues to be affected by systemic racism, Yelp feels an obligation to help consumers make better decisions before spending their hard-earned dollars with businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions.

“So far in 2020, we’ve seen a 133% increase in the number of media-fueled incidences on Yelp compared to the same time last year,” said Malik.


Malik wrote that between May 26, a day after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, and September 30, a week after the Breonna Taylor verdict was announced, Yelp has 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.

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Yelp says it will alert users of businesses accused of racist behavior

Yelp says it will alert users of businesses accused of racist behavior

  • Yelp will now flag businesses that have been accused of “overt” racism as a warning to users. 
  • The “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” will feature a red icon that will appear at the top of the page for the business and a news article would be linked to the accused businesses. 
  • The measure is in response to an increase in the number of reviews warning of racist behavior at local businesses in the past few months. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Yelp announced on Thursday that it would flag businesses that have been accused of “overt” racism as a warning to users. 

“We’re announcing a new consumer alert to stand against racism. In the last few months, we’ve seen 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,” the company said in a tweet

The company said the “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” will feature a red icon that will appear at the top of the page for the business, and a news article would be linked so users can “learn more.”

“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,” Noorie Malik, Yelp’s vice president of user operations said in an announcement of the new policy. 

The company said it saw an increase in the number of reviews warning of racist behavior at businesses in the last few months as the “nation reckons with issues of systemic racism.”

Protests erupted across the US

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