Posted on October 30, 2020

Yelp’s New ‘Racist’ Alert Raises Concerns Among Small Businesses

Isabelle Lee, Bloomberg, October 29, 2020

Yelp Inc.’s recently launched feature of flagging businesses accused of “overtly racist actions” is raising concerns among U.S. small-business owners who worry about false accusations.

“It would be great if a racist restaurant is flagged,” said Mueller-Fichepain, who’s also a business program director at Creighton University. “But I don’t know if Yelp should be the judge and jury.”

Yelp, the site for customer reviews on restaurants, entertainment and stores, introduced the new alert, “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert,” in early October to flag places where there is what the platform calls “resounding evidence” of egregious racist actions, including slurs and symbols.

Yelp’s move carries risks, according to Ayman El Tarabishy, president of the International Council for Small Business, an advocacy group.

“It is a very delicate and dangerous precedent,” said Tarabishy, who is also deputy chairman of the department of management at the George Washington University School of Business. “We don’t support this. {snip}”

If a business takes a “public corrective action,” such as the termination of an offending employee, it won’t warrant the new alert, Yelp said by email, adding the platform has no plans on making the list of businesses flagged public.