If you’re browsing through Yelp reviews, you might come across a new consumer alert, warning you that a business has been “accused of racist behavior.”
“Recently, someone associated with this business was accused of racist behavior, resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page,” the warning says.
There has been a substantial increase in the number of reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses, Yelp said in a news release Thursday. This summer, Yelp saw a 617% rise in such reviews compared with last year.
“While searches for Black-owned businesses surged on Yelp, so did the volume of reviews warning users of racist behavior at businesses,” the company said.
In the interest of the company’s “zero tolerance policy to racism,” it will now place a consumer alert on a business’s page “to caution people about businesses that may be associated with overtly racist actions.”
Yelp already placed warnings called “Public Attention Alerts” on business pages that got reviews accusing them of racism based on news reports or social media.
The number of reviews based on news reports has increased 133% in 2020. Yelp placed more than 450 Public Attention Alerts on pages “that were either accused of, or the target of, racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“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 said.
When an alert is placed on a business’s page, users will not be able to post reviews until after Yelp “investigates.” Yelp’s policy requires that reviews are based on personal experience with a business, and it does not “allow people to leave reviews based on media reports because it can artificially inflate or deflate a business’s star rating.”
Protests against systemic racism have popped up all over the U.S. in the last few months, especially after the death of George Floyd. Floyd, 46, died while in police custody on May 25 when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes. Chauvin and three other officers at the scene have been charged in his death.