The business directory and crowdsourced review forum said media-fueled incidences on its platform are up 133% year-over-year thus far in 2020, and it placed over 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of or the target of racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement between May 26 and Sept. 30.
Vice president of user operations Noorie Malik said in a blog post, “At Yelp, we value diversity, inclusion and belonging, both internally and on our platform, which means we have a zero-tolerance policy to racism. We know these values are important to our users, and now, more than ever, consumers are increasingly conscious of the types of businesses they patronize and support. In fact, we’ve seen that reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses were up more than 617% this summer compared with last summer. Support for women-owned businesses has also increased, with review mentions up 114% for the same time period.”
The company said its new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert is an extension of its existing Public Attention Alert, which was introduced as a response to the rise in social activism surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. That alert has been added to business pages when businesses begin receiving an influx of reviews due to increased public attention.
When the new alert is added to a business page, it will contain a link to a news article where they can learn more about the incident or incidents in question.
Malik explained, “Yelp’s top priority is to ensure the trust and safety of our users and provide them with reliable content to inform their spending decisions, including decisions about whether they’ll be welcome and safe at a particular business. We advocate for personal expression and provide a platform that encourages people to share their experience online, but at the same time, it’s always been Yelp’s policy that all reviews must be based on actual first-hand consumer experiences with the business. This policy is critical to mitigating fake reviews and maintaining the integrity of content on our platform. We don’t allow people to leave reviews based on media reports because it can artificially inflate or deflate a business’ star rating.”
Yelp also expanded its partnership with Open to All, which began when Yelp release the Open to All attribute in 2018.
Content marketing manager Amanda Retzer said in a blog post that over 500,000 businesses have activated the attribute, which helps them create safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for customers, employees and communities.
The two parties teamed up on an Open to All toolkit for businesses, which includes:
- Exclusive access to a one-hour unlearning bias training video, created in partnership with Ralph Lauren.
- Email templates for customer outreach.
- A digital social media kit with sample posts and graphics.
- A printable Open to All poster for employee break rooms.
- Information on additional organizations that are offering training and other resources.
Businesses can click here to activate their attribute, take the pledge and access the toolkit.
Malik wrote, “Increasingly, consumers across the U.S. are voting with their dollars by supporting businesses that align with their values. As always, we continue to evaluate how we can best use our platform to build a better, more equitable and inclusive environment where consumers and businesses can interact safely and fully informed.”