Yelp, a crowdsourced review site for businesses, announced Thursday that they will be adding a feature in which customers can flag businesses for racist behavior, resulting in a tag of “Business Accused of Racist Behavior.”
“We’ve seen in the last few months that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions.”Noorie Malik, Yelp Vice President of User Operations
A spokesperson for the company said they will only label businesses when there is “resounding evidence” and a “news article from a credible media outlet” that confirms the allegations. Forbes noted that those terms leave much room for interpretation.
The Right is vehemently opposed to the move. Businesswoman and conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin wrote that Yelp’s move will allow “smear-enabling conduct that will weaponize mass harassment campaigns and false allegations of ‘racism’ by BLM/Antifa/SPLC/ADL/RWW against innocent small businesses.” Journalist and social media personality Andy Ngo pointed out that Antifa members have already started compiling a list of businesses to “blackmail” – ones that are pro-police or anything else they deem anti-BLM (Black Lives Matter). “What are the odds that this isn’t insanely abused?” asked Donald Trump Jr. in a Twitter post.
Cool, so if you’re ever mad about getting bad service at a restaurant you can just accuse them of racism and Yelp will singlehandedly help you destroy their business. Seems smart. https://t.co/5jn8WQvxkD— Savanah Hernandez (@sav_says_) October 9, 2020
The Left has mixed thoughts. Physician-scientist Eugene Gu tweeted that, although he is in support of the idea to promote “racial equality in our country and to take a stand against racism, misogyny, and discrimination in all forms,” there have to be “safeguards” in the process in order to protect the “notion of innocent until proven guilty.” “I’m happy they’re trying to do something around issues of racism, particularly in business. But I couldn’t even imagine how I could design a system that would be impartial and actually work,” said Anela Malik, a black food blogger and advocate. An article from The New York Times noted that it is unclear how the company will “ensure that businesses were not falsely associated with racism or the target of defamatory reviews.” Others, however, praised the decision. Dr. Jack Brown, a body language and emotional intelligence expert, wrote, “Thank you, Yelp. Call out racism every time you see it.”