Yelp plans to warn users if a company is accused of racist behavior on its platform, the company said in a blog post. If someone associated with a company is accused or the target of racist behavior, Yelp applies its general alert. However, if there is "clear evidence of outrageous, racist acts" by a business owner or employees, e.g. For example, using racist symbols or blurring, Yelp will apply a "Racial Behavior Alert" and link to a credible news source to provide users with more information.
"As the nation anticipates issues of systemic racism, we have seen in recent months the clear need to warn consumers about companies that are engaged in outrageous, racially-charged measures to help people make more informed spending decisions to meet, "said Noorie Malik, Yelp Vice President for User Operations, wrote in the blog post.
It's not entirely clear what exactly qualifies as "racist behavior" under the updated warning system, but it continues Yelp's alignment with the Black Lives Matter movement. The company set up public awareness alerts after allegedly seeing a surge in social activism in the Black Lives Matter movement. The Public Awareness Alerts let customers know why a company may have more than the usual number of reviews due to increased media attention.
Between May 26 and September 30, Yelp reportedly posted more than 450 public warning messages on the websites of companies alleged or targeted for racist behavior in connection with the Black Lives Matter movement.
In June, Yelp launched a new tool that companies can use to identify themselves as black-owned on the platform. According to Yelp, ratings for black-owned businesses rose 617 percent between summer 2019 and summer 2020.
Earlier this year, the company released its first Consumer Alerts report, which closed 550 accounts of a group that generated fake reviews and placed more than 300 alerts on pages deemed business owners to be encouraging or paying for reviews.