Earlier today, The New York Times reported that the family of Ahmad Khan Rahami owns a neighborhood chicken haunt called First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, N.J. Naturally, it didn’t take long for internet users to swarm the restaurant’s Yelp page and leave one-star reviews, decrying its connection to a key suspect in yesterday’s New York City bomb attack. Within hours, the page had at least 80 new reviews, some leaving anti-Muslim comments and others just making jokes about the food being “the bomb.”
Yelp intervened by triggering its “active cleanup alert,” which warns users that such reviews may be removed:
“While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.”
Yelp introduced the tool a year ago in response to what has been an ongoing struggle: preventing users from using the website as a place to post off-topic opinions whenever a business finds itself at the center of a news event.