Story at a glance
- Reviews website Yelp will begin attaching warnings to businesses accused of racist behavior following credible news or media reports.
- The company says more consumers want to support businesses that align with their values.
As a means to help consumers track and avoid establishments that have a history of racism, restaurant and business-reviewing site Yelp is implementing a new feature that will place a Consumer Alert label on business pages that have reviews of “overtly racist actions.”
Announced Thursday, the company stated that its team has noticed an uptick in users who wanted to find and support Black-owned businesses in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd.
Yelp partnered with multiple organizations, such as My Black Receipt, to amplify Black-owned businesses on its website, and soon noticed more and more reviews posted surrounding certain businesses with multiple reviews of racist behavior.
The company works to control for the effect of what they call “media-fueled reviews” by issuing a Public Attention Alert on business pages that tells customers that a business might be receiving a high volume of reviews due to increased public attention.
The new Racist Behavior Alert is an extension of this feature that specifically controls for instances of racism or bigotry.
“Communities have always turned to Yelp in reaction to current events at the local level,” the press release reads. “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.”
The new feature will apply to businesses with reports of racist conduct, such as using racist language or symbols, and link Yelp users to news articles if the business has garnered public attention for any discriminatory incidents.
“Now more than ever, consumers are increasingly conscious of the types of businesses they patronize and support. They are 'voting with their dollars,' so to speak," said Noorie Malik, Yelp’s vice president of user operations, to USA Today. “We needed a better solution to inform consumers about businesses allegedly associated with egregious, racially charged actions to help people feel comfortable patronizing a business.”
So far, Yelp has issued more than 450 alerts on business pages that are accused of, or the target of, racism related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The overall goal of this new feature is to create a more inclusive and safe environment for better-informed customers, as well as give a voice to business employees to voice complaints.