Yelp has announced that it will post alerts on business pages where customers or employees have reported “overtly racist actions.”

The local search and review site said customers will now be able to flag incidents of racism, and the site will place a “business accused of racist behavior” alert on an establishment’s page when it “gains public attention for reports of racist conduct, such as using racist language or symbols.”

“As the nation reckons with issues of systemic racism, 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, VP of user operations, wrote in a blog post.

There has been a swell in the number of reports of businesses participating in alleged racist behavior since May after the police killing of George Floyd and the ongoing protests across the U.S.

Yelp’s announcement had many wondering how it will carry out the initiative and guarantee that businesses are not falsely targeted with reports of racism or defamatory reviews, which can hurt an establishment. But Yelp says that the racism alerts will be authenticated by links to news stories, where customers can find out more about the incident. 

The company has used similar lower-level “public attention” alerts to flag establishments involved in racist incidents in the past. The site verifies such allegations using a team of moderators who study the Yelp comments of a business to see if other users have also had the same experience.

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