The new alert system will post a warning whenever “someone associated with [a] business was accused of racist behavior,” regardless of whether or not said behavior can actually be proven.
In an announcement on its company blog, Yelp explained that due to “issues of systemic racism” in America, its platform has identified “a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions.”
“Now, when a business gains public attention for reports of racist conduct, such as using racist language or symbols, Yelp will place a new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert on their Yelp page to inform users, along with a link to a news article where they can learn more about the incident,” the company further revealed.
From now on, the San Francisco-based company will post a red icon at the top of the page of accused businesses that states, “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert.” There will also be a link posted to an associated news article where users can “learn more” about the alleged racist incident.
The alert message from Yelp, which we previously reported extorts businesses for profit, will also include a notification explaining that someone at the associated business was “accused of racist behavior, resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page.” Once enacted, the alert will also allow Yelp to disable any new reviews for the profile of said business while an investigation is launched.
“While we understand the desire to warn others about racist behavior associated with a business, all reviews on Yelp must reflect actual first-hand consumer experience,” the company announced.
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The latest changes all stem from the “Public Attention Alert” system that Yelp created back when George Floyd started making headlines. Company executive Noorie Malik said in a statement that the rise in social activism surrounding Black Lives Matter (BLM) prompted Yelp to take action.
“If someone associated with a business is accused of, or the target of, racist behavior, we will place a Public Attention Alert on the business page to warn consumers that the business may be receiving an influx of reviews as a result of increased attention,” Malik further stated.
“For businesses accused of overtly racist actions, where we can link to a news article, we will escalate our warning with the Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert.”
Between May 26 and Sept. 30, Yelp says it has placed more than 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of, or the target of, racist behavior associated with the BLM movement.
As to be expected, the system is already being abused and weaponized by activists with an axe to grind. Spectator editor Melissa Chen tweeted that Yelp reviews are routinely weaponized, and that businesses “are easily caught up in the culture war.”
“The charge of racism is too easily made,” she added, further noting that “enabling this feature is a terrible decision for small businesses across America.”
Matt Walsh, a commenter at The Daily Wire, also tweeted that the new “features” on Yelp give “race hoaxers a specific tool to destroy any business they want on a whim.”
“This is the most insane idea I’ve ever heard and I hope you are sued into bankruptcy,” he added.
Speaking of lawsuits, Amber Smith, former deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense, warned that Yelp is surely “going to be buried under lawsuits” that it will “never recover from” – and “rightfully so,” she added.
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