Yelp to tag businesses that require vaccine proof

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Yelp, the online platform for crowd-sourced restaurant reviews, plans to begin tagging restaurants that require their employees and customers to be vaccinated, according to counselor to the president Jeffrey Zients.

“Yelp is announcing a new feature that allows consumers to search for businesses with fully vaccinated workers or businesses that require proof of vaccination to enter the business,” he announced during a White House briefing Thursday.

The announcement provoked intense mockery.

The problem is that Yelp’s crowd-sourced reviews have always been rife for abuse. Any time a restaurant goes viral for doing something “offensive,” critics rush to the restaurant’s Yelp page to bombard it with negative reviews.

Listen:

In April, Yelp was forced to disable the comments for the Trophy Club Bar and Grill in Medford, Oregon, after the store’s “China Virus” marquee sign went viral.

“This business recently received increased public attention resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to post here as we work to investigate the content,” an alert on the restaurant’s Yelp page read at the time, as reported by station KOMO.

The following month, a frustrated Michigan hotel owner was filmed calling a customer an “idiot” and “dumb Democrat.” In response to the footage going viral, critics blew up his hotel’s Yelp page, according to Newsweek.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to just Yelp. Cameron Woodsum, the owner of a company called Bill Slasher, once experienced something similar on Facebook.

“In early 2018, Woodsum launched a Google Adwords campaign targeting the leading competitor in the space, Billshark. When people searched for ‘Billshark,’ they found Bill Slasher’s advert at the top of search results,” according to Forbes.

“Billshark wasn’t happy. Within 12 hours of launching that advert, Woodsum says the Bill Slasher Facebook page was flooded with 1-star reviews. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that they came from Billshark’s executive team, employees, and family members. Even the CEO’s wife was involved,” as reported by Forbes.

When this happens on Yelp, the company usually pauses incoming reviews and then performs a “clean up” by meticulously combing through all the recent reviews and filtering out the ones that clearly aren’t sincere.

It’s a painstaking process, but it doesn’t happen that frequently. But what if Yelp were to start tagging restaurants with vaccine mandates? How do you suppose anti-vaccine mandate critics would respond? The public has some theories:

Did you see the video screenshot from “South Park” above?

In 2015, the popular adult cartoon show ran an episode about this phenomenon.

“The episode — titled ‘You’re Not Yelping’ — shows various residents of the town going on power trips at restaurants. … Cartman may be the worst of them all, constantly threatening one star reviews if he doesn’t get what he wants,” as reported by Eater magazine.

Yelp’s decision to tag restaurants with vaccine mandates could also lead to a significant drop in business for pro-vaccine mandate restaurants:

Notice what the latter user wrote. It’s not clear whether this new program by Yelp will be optional or mandatory.

What’s known is that this isn’t the first instance of Yelp going “woke.” Last year, it introduced a “racist behavior alert” to its platform, ostensibly to advise customers of race-based complaints at certain restaurants.

The shocking policy triggered straight-up anger, including from renowned conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, who canceled her own Yelp account and warned that the policy would “blow up in their faces.”

Her concern was that the policy would be used by left-wing extremists, particularly those aligned with Black Lives Matter and Antifa, to smear restaurants whose owners supported then-President Donald Trump.

“You know who is going to suffer? Innocent small businesses that dare to be pro-Trump that dare to speak out in favor of immigration enforcement measures … that dare to be openly pro-life … that refuse to cave into the mob,” she said at the time.

Ironically, the opposite is likely to occur with Yelp’s latest “woke” move, given as the targets this will be restaurant owners who support vaccine mandates — and well, it’s fairly obvious that such people tend to be liberal Democrats.

It would perhaps be better for everyone if Yelp would simply stop involving itself in political matters, but that apparently is not an option for the very “woke” corporation.

Vivek Saxena

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