Yelp to add alerts on businesses accused of racism

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Yelp is adding alerts to its review pages of businesses accused of “overtly racist actions,” the company announced Thursday.

When a business receives an uptick in reports of discrimination, the crowd-sourced platform will place a label on that Yelp page. This alert, said the company, will caution people about businesses that may not be welcoming of them.

“At Yelp, we value diversity, inclusion and belonging, both internally and on our platform, which means we have a zero tolerance policy to racism,” said Noorie Malik, the company’s vice president of operations, in a statement. “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.”

The change comes amid a racial reckoning in the U.S. in the wake of the violent deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Breonna Taylor during a Louisville police raid on her apartment, and other Black men and women.

Reports of alleged racism at businesses have recently risen on the Yelp platform.

“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,” said the company.

When a business gains public attention for overt racist behavior, such as using racist language or symbols, Yelp will place an “Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” on that business’s Yelp page and link to a news article where customers can read about incidents themselves.

The company also said reviews will be based on personal experiences with the business. “We don’t allow people to leave reviews based on media reports because it can artificially inflate or deflate a business’s star rating,” Malik said.

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