When it first notices a person associated with a business has been a target or accused of racism, Yelp will add a Public Attention Alert to that company’s page “to warn consumers that the business may be receiving an influx of reviews as a result of increased attention.” If a business has been accused of “overtly racist actions, where we can link to a news article,” Yelp will use its “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” label instead.
Yelp is relying on news and social media reports in this process partly to warn people about the possible influx of fake reviews affecting a business’ ratings in these situations. “It’s always been Yelp’s policy that all reviews must be based on actual first-hand consumer experiences with the business,” the company said in its news release. “This policy is critical to mitigating fake reviews and maintaining the integrity of content on our platform. We don’t allow people to leave reviews based on media reports because it can artificially inflate or deflate a business’s star rating.”
According to Yelp, up till this point in 2020, it’s already seen a 133 percent increase in “media-fueled incidences” compared to the same time last year. “Increasingly, consumers across the U.S. are voting with their dollars by supporting businesses that align with their values,” the company said. “As always, we continue to evaluate how we can best use our platform to build a better, more equitable and inclusive environment.”