Yelp announced Thursday that it is launching a consumer alert feature on its app that will allow reviewers to identify and warn others of racist behavior at businesses.
The platform said that the new function is intended to hold businesses accountable and give their potential customers “reliable information”, USA Today reported. The “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” can keep the businesses informed of negative reviews and let customers know what they might be walking into, the report added.
An increasing number of reviewers have warned fellow users of racist conduct at local businesses, Yelp says. https://t.co/xDrNRNC9Hp
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 8, 2020
“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 in a statement.
“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,” Malik added.
Reviews alleging racist actions “must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience,” the statement noted. (RELATED: Woman Heckled By BLM Protesters At DC Restaurant Says She Still Supports The Movement)
The company statement said between May 26 and Sept. 30 it placed over 450 alerts concerning racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement. (RELATED: Pittsburgh Police Investigate Video Showing Protesters Accosting Diners At Restaurant During Anti-Police Demonstration)
“We’re often alerted of discrimination occurring at local businesses across the country on a daily basis and often in smaller towns where they may not even make the news,” Malik says.
Yelp said it will link news articles to reviews of businesses accused of “overtly racist actions,” but it will not allow user reviews based exclusively on media reports.