Yelp To Flag Businesses Accused Of Racism
Yelp To Flag Businesses Accused Of Racism
Yelp has decided to take a new stance on fighting racism. In this case, the online review company will put alert reviewers that a business has been accused of racism.
“Yelp, the local search and review site, said it would post alerts on the pages of businesses where customers or employees have reported incidents of racism, the latest attempt by a U.S. company to introduce a tougher response system to confront discrimination after the police killing of George Floyd in May.”
Keep in mind that Yelp has had multiple problems with reviews over the years. Those problems include reviews by disgruntled employees, scam reviews, and reviews from people who were not customers of the business. Now, however, over the summer there has been a push to identify Black-owned businesses and promote them. Which has evidently led to other problems according to Yelp.
“Over the summer, Yelp rolled out a number of initiatives to help users find and support Black-owned businesses. We partnered with My Black Receipt on the launch of a Black-owned business attribute and joined the 15 Percent Pledge to further amplify Black-owned businesses. While searches for Black-owned businesses surged on Yelp, so did the volume of reviews warning users of racist behavior at businesses. Today, in response to this, we will now place a distinct Consumer Alert on business pages to caution people about businesses that may be associated with overtly racist actions.”
Yelp has been engaged in doing this in response to the “mostly peaceful riots” that have been taking place across the country for the last six months in response to George Floyd’s death. Now, however, Yelp has decided to fight allegations of racism by flagging the business and posting this warning.
Photo Credit: Yelp blog post
What could possibly go wrong here? Read the headline and the first sentence again. Yelp will be flagging a business based upon someone accusing somebody AT THE BUSINESS of racist behavior. Yelp will flag the business and THEN will investigate.
Unbelievably a publication called Restaurant Dive thinks this is a grand idea.
“This latest iteration is likely to be well-received by diners, as a solid majority of consumers — 81% of Black consumers and 54% of White consumers — want companies to speak out against racial injustice. Further, 77% of U.S. consumers said it is “deeply important that companies respond to racial injustice to earn or keep their trust.” This trend isn’t likely to go away, as younger consumers especially (47% of millennials) believe CEOs have a responsibility to take a stand on social issues.
These alerts should influence restaurants to prioritize a non-racist culture through training, as the risk is significant. Sixty percent of the U.S. population say that how a brand responds to racial justice protests will influence whether they buy or boycott the brand in the future. Yelp generates a staggering 28 million mobile app unique users a month, so such an alert can easily trigger a boycott.”
Again, go back and read the Yelp Business Alert. Yelp will be told that someone who works at a restaurant has engaged in racist behavior, and Yelp will immediately flag the business and THEN investigate! I may have missed it, but it also seems that Yelp won’t even notify the business that such a flag will be put in place.
The negative connotations of such an alert will be immediately harmful to the business. I’d be willing to bet that just the implication that racism is present will drive traffic AWAY from the business.
And what is Yelp’s plan if the allegations turn out to be false?? Put a new alert on the business that includes the results of the investigation and an apology? I doubt it.
What an insanely stupid idea.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 9, 2020
So when a customer hallucinates that they’ve experienced racism you’re going to alert the entire world that the restaurant is racist?— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) October 9, 2020
Sounds like a version of China’s social merit/demerit system. Terrible idea.— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) October 9, 2020
Again, what could possibly go wrong? These days, there are too many people across this country who are all too thrilled to smash up businesses and attack people they don’t even know for being racist. Not only that, but businesses, specifically restaurants and diners have been targeted by Black Lives Matter extremists.
It’s a fair bet that if a business is flagged, that business could experience more than just a boycott. In today’s climate it is very possible that that business could be vandalized and looted.
Yelp is trying to fix racism by flagging businesses that are merely ACCUSED of it, whether the accusations are credible or not.
This is not a business-friendly move whatsoever. Yelp is going to have serious problems on its hands if the company goes through with this.
Update: Yelp has it’s OWN in-house problems as it is dealing with similar accusations at the Phoenix office. Will Yelp flag itself over this?
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Feature Photo Credit: Yelp logo via Marco Verch on Flickr, cropped and modified