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What does Yelp do when a local business gains increased public attention?

When a local business makes the news for something controversial, people often go to Yelp with the intention of sharing their views on the situation in a review, photo, or other content. These comments typically don’t reflect a personal consumer experience with the business, which should always be the focus of user content on Yelp. 

As part of our Consumer Alerts program, we may publish an alert that appears over the review section of a business’s Yelp Page to inform consumers about the situation, and we will temporarily disable the ability to post reviews on the affected page. We use automated software to flag any business page seeing an unusual increase in activity. From there, our team will manually investigate what’s causing the rise in attention and may place a Consumer Alert on the impacted business page. 

Here are examples of media attention alerts we may place on Yelp business pages:
  • We place an Unusual Activity Alert when a business receives an influx of Yelp reviews that appear motivated by a recent news event rather than actual consumer experiences with the business. This will also temporarily disable the ability to post reviews on the affected page.
  • We place a Public Attention Alert to inform consumers if someone associated with the business was accused of, or the target of, racist behavior. We take a firm stance against racism and will temporarily disable the ability to post as we conduct a thorough review of the business page. When a business gains public attention for reports of overtly racist conduct, such as the use of racist slurs or symbols, we'll place a Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert. This type of alert will always include a link to a news article with evidence of the racist conduct and more information about the incident. These alerts are removed on a case-by-case basis when any unusual activity on the page has dramatically decreased or stopped.

After the news cycle moves on and we remove the alert on a business’s page, we may continue to remove reviews and other content that appear to be motivated by media coverage rather than first-hand consumer experiences (even if it means removing points of view with which we might agree).  
Please note that we apply this same policy regardless of the business and regardless of the topic at issue in order to avoid injecting our own varied viewpoints into the debate.

You can learn more in the Consumer Alerts section of our Trust & Safety site.