What Yelp Is Doing About Accused Racist Businesses

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Millennials in particular have always been, well, particular about how we spend our money. We want to be sure everything is as ethical, local business-supporting, and aboveboard as possible. It's one reason we rely on review sites like Yelp for so much, which gives online reviews an inordinate amount of power over our spending habits.

With social, racial, and economic justice dominating conversations nationwide and around the world, Yelp is working to clarify how users filter their experiences, for better and for worse. In a blog post this week, Yelp explained a new policy about how it would label and note businesses caught up in controversies about racism and other harmful behaviors. The company described itself as "zero tolerance," and stated that when it flags an unusual amount of activity on a business's page, it will freeze comments and review the influx of new ratings. It will let stand reviews that clearly indicate a "first-person experience," while discouraging those that seek to discredit or support a business without having been there.

During this process, a notice will appear on a business's profile indicating that it has been accused of racist behavior toward customers or staff. The notice will include outside links to news reporting on the issue or incident. This should go beyond a strange quirk of psychology wherein some potential customers could feel sympathy for a badly reviewed establishment and thus seek to support it. If we're going to put our money where our values lie, it should help to clearly understand who lives up to them.