Danhof: I give Yelp zero stars

Thursday, October 15, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

'Yes, we're open" signA company that posts user reviews and business recommendations is taking what it calls a firm stand against racism. But not everyone is a fan of the approach.

Yelp recently issued a blog post about how the company values diversity, inclusion, and belonging, "both internally and on our platform." That, according to the statement, equates to a zero-tolerance policy regarding racism.

"Now, when a business gains attention for reports of racist conduct, Yelp will place a new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert on their Yelp page to inform users," the company tweeted.

Justin Danhof of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research says, "Nathaniel Hawthorne would be proud of the scarlet letter that Yelp is about to ascribe to businesses based on likely nothing."

He points out that the way the left describes "racism" is usually incorrect. For example, if a local company in a small town wanted to put up a "Blue Lives Matter" or an "All Lives Matter" sign, then the left would attack that business as racist "because to the left, only black lives matter, and you must bend your knee to them."

Danhof envisions a similar situation with a business flying an American flag at a time when athletes and other individuals have been kneeling during the national anthem.

"That's what I read out of this," he says about Yelp’s post. "I find it appalling but altogether not shocking in the year 2020."

OneNewsNow contacted Yelp to ask what a business owner could do to have the alert removed.

"Incidents that warrant this escalated alert are extremely rare," a Yelp spokesman responded. "At this time, only a couple businesses out of the millions of businesses on Yelp have this type of alert. Furthermore, if a business takes public corrective action, as an example, the termination of an offending employee, it would not warrant a Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert."

A lengthy statement was also attached, assuring that Yelp's "top priority is to ensure the trust and safety of our community and provide users with reliable content to inform their spending decisions, including decisions about whether they'll be welcome and safe at a particular business."

The email also explained that technology and signals are in place that could compel Yelp moderators to investigate and temporarily disable content "as we place an alert on the business's page to warn users that some of these reviews may not be based on first-hand experiences." Alerts can appear for days or several weeks; the need and timeframe is determined on a case-by-case basis, but the aim is to ensure that first-hand consumer experiences are reflected.

Danhof

"When a business gains public attention for reports of racist conduct, we will first default to a general Public Attention Alert to inform consumers if someone associated with the business was accused of, or is the target of, racist behavior," the statement adds. Yelp will only reportedly escalate to a Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert "when there's resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions from a business owner or employee."

This alert will also link to a news article "from a credible media outlet" so users can learn more.

This response from Yelp, however, does not change Danhof's take on the situation.

"I translate that statement as, 'Yelp stands dedicated to forwarding the cancel culture that seeks to eradicate what was, heretofore, shared American values,'" Danhof concludes. "Bend your knee to the Marxists at BLM, or Yelp will try and put you out of business."

Meanwhile, Yelp has reportedly seen that reviews mentioning black-owned businesses were up more than 617 percent this summer compared to last summer. Support for women-owned businesses has also increased, with review mentions up 114 percent for the same time period.

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