The prominent business review app moves to include racial relations as part of the consumer experience.
The popular review platform has announced that it will now label businesses with significant allegations of racist behavior. The labeling of the business as potentially racist will be accompanied by a news article, detailing the business’ alleged racist behavior.
Yelp’s Vice President of user operations, Noorie Malik, stated in a post,
“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.”
This decision comes as Yelp observes an upward trend in complaints of businesses engaging in racist behavior. The uptick has been evident since the police killing of an African-American male, George Floyd, in May. While Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, his death received widespread coverage and resulted in international protests, as well as business assuring consumers that they would put forth an effort to foster racial sensitivity.
To ensure the integrity of reviews, Malik has emphasized that only first-hand accounts will be permitted to appear on business’ pages, stating, “We don't allow people to leave reviews based on media reports because it can artificially inflate or deflate a business's star rating.”
Verifying the authenticity of reviews has been an ongoing concern for Yelp. In the past eight years, the app has opted to prohibit ratings for pages where fake reviews are suspected. Last year alone, reviews were halted on close to 600 pages due to suspicion of misinformation.