The Consumer Review Community Is Now Openly Putting Bullseyes On Businesses In A City Near You

The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked numerous instances of corporations bowing before the violent mobs. In most cases, this amounts to sizable donations (often hundreds of millions of dollars) being donated to the organization and their allies. Yelp has decided to go one step further.

The community for consumers to review local businesses will begin tagging establishments with a “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” disclaimer ostensibly to explain why they are halting reviews for a period of review. The decision will be determined by viral social media posts and news articles related to the business that correspond with a large uptick of comments on the Yelp page.

It doesn’t take a fortune teller to imagine the potential consequences of this decision. Yelp has essentially handed a gasoline cannister to the rioters who have been burning businesses down over the past 150 days.

While it’s certainly good to halt reviews during this time, it’s rather astounding that Yelp has chosen to prominently add a disclaimer that the business has been accused of racism.

Prior to this implementation, Yelp would occasionally halt reviews for certain establishments when they received a large influx of comments due to a viral social media post. But when they did, they would only provide a vague justification regarding viral posts and a need to verify that all reviews were coming from individuals who had actually visited the place of interest.

Yelp’s Justification For The New Disclaimer:

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. Yelp’s User Operations team already places alerts on business pages when we notice an unusual uptick in reviews that are based on what someone may have seen in the news or on social media, rather than on a first-hand experience with the business. Now, when a business gains public attention for reports of racist conduct, such as using racist language or symbols, Yelp will place a new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert on their Yelp page to inform users, along with a link to a news article where they can learn more about the incident.

Yelp’s top priority is to ensure the trust and safety of our users and provide them with reliable content to inform their spending decisions, including decisions about whether they’ll be welcome and safe at a particular business. We advocate for personal expression and provide a platform that encourages people to share their experience online, but at the same time it’s always been Yelp’s policy that all reviews must be based on actual first-hand consumer experiences with the business. 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.