There was a steep rise in racist reviews on Yelp in 2022, with Asian-owned businesses experiencing the most drastic spike.
On Wednesday, the crowd-sourced business review company posted its annual trust and safety report which included statistical information about suspicious activity, compensated reviews, restaurant inspection data and the removal of harmful content. Yelp, which is based in San Francisco, filters through reviews before they are published in an effort to counter spammy, deceptive and harmful content. More than 2,000 hateful reviews targeting Asian-, Black-, Latino- and LGBTQ-owned businesses were proactively blocked before they were published in 2022 compared to 200 in 2021.
The company reported that 26,500 business reviews in total were removed last year for violating its rules regarding threats, lewdness, hate speech and other potentially harmful content, an increase of around 1,300 from 2021.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
Yelp removed 475 reviews targeting Asian-owned businesses, compared to only nine such reviews removed in 2021.
Recently, restaurant owner Christopher Wong encountered a racist review about his eatery, the Curry Up Cafe in suburban Los Angeles, according to AP News.
“I will not have my dog eat in this place because they might cook him. The owner works for the Chinese government,” the review read.
“If one person read that and decided not to come in, that’s someone who could have been a satisfied customer for years,” Wong told AP News in reference to the review, which was eventually removed by Yelp after Wong and his regular customers filed complaints.
In 2020, Yelp made it possible for business owners to label their pages as Black-, Latino-, Asian- or LGBTQ-owned. This feature was added soon after the pandemic began in an effort to recognize and eliminate racist content.
The reported increase in racist reviews is in line with a study published late last month
that found COVID-related stigma cost Asian restaurants in the U.S. approximately $7.4 billion in lost revenue.