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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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