Yelp announced in a blog post yesterday that it would begin flagging businesses that have been accused of racially charged behavior on the app. Consumer alerts are already placed on businesses that see an influx of reviews based on news coverage or social media rather than first hand experience, and the new alert will specify when the allegations are related to racist behavior.
“At Yelp, we value diversity, inclusion and belonging, both internally and on our platform, which means we have a zero tolerance policy to racism. 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 brand said in the site blog post.
In order to flag these situations while also maintaining the integrity of the app, businesses that are associated with someone who has been accused of racist behavior, or that have been the target of racist behavior will get a new alert badge on the app. It will read “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” with a link to a credible news source explaining the situation.
Yelp’s platform encourages people to share their personal, first hand experiences online, so when an influx of reviews comes as a result of media coverage it flags this so individuals know not all of the reviews are based on customer experiences. According to Yelp: “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.”
This change in the app comes as a way to continue to provide customers with the most accurate reviews of restaurants so they can safely down out and support restaurants with common values. To help small businesses that want to cultivate cultures of inclusivity, Yelp is also teaming up with Open to All, an organization that offers a toolkit to restaurants that includes an unlearning bias training video, outreach language for customers and employees, social media assets, and more.
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