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Yelps ‘Racist Business' Alert

Written By:

Emily D. Baker

Yelp has taken a broad step. Some praise the social activism, many wonder how this will impact affected businesses. The label first ask questions second approach yelp is taking is problematic. By Yelp’s statement is that the advisory will go up while Yelp is investigating. It is also made clear that this doesn’t have to be an issue with the business directly because it can also be with ‘someone associated with the business’. So if an off duty employee creates this issue…. And the business gets labeled, then what?

My concern for businesses is that Yelp will label first, and it’s unclear how businesses can get these alerts removed. What we know about the court of public opinion is that it doesn’t matter what Yelps investigation finds, it matters that the accusation was placed on the business in the first place.

Per Yelp's blog:

“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. In fact, we’ve seen that reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses were up more than 617% this summer compared to last summer. Support for women-owned businesses has also increased, with review mentions up 114% for the same time period.

The new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert is an extension of our Public Attention Alert that we introduced in response to a rise in social activism surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

So far in 2020, we’ve seen a 133% increase in the number of media-fueled incidences on Yelp compared to the same time last year. Between May 26 and September 30, we placed more than 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of, or the target of, racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement. We have maintained around-the-clock support over the last few months to ensure that we’re maintaining the trust and safety of our users and business owners.

If the business takes public corrective action, such as firing an offending employee, the alert will be downgraded to a Public Attention Alert, which warns users that “someone associated with the business was accused of, or the target of, racist behavior.”

What do you think? Do the problems outweigh the benefit here?

Episode 55 of The Emily Show:

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Stay safe out there and if you want a more in-depth exploration of this topic and others check out the Get Legit Law & Shit podcast.

LAST UPDATED: October 14, 2020

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