Looking back on 2020
Prioritizing trust is about going to great lengths to maintain the integrity and quality of content on our platform. Our Trust & Safety Report provides a comprehensive overview of the steps we took to safeguard the Yelp community in 2020 — to both surface the most reliable content for consumers and level the playing field for business owners who rightfully earn their great reputation.
Protecting Our Community Through Consumer Alerts
We publish Consumer Alerts on business pages to warn users when we find evidence of extreme attempts to manipulate a business’s ratings and reviews. In 2020, we published more than 2,500 alerts — up 93% from the previous year. The most common alert we published within this time frame was our Unusual Activity Alert, where we saw a 206% increase in the number of media-fueled incidents on Yelp, year-over-year.
Providing Critical COVID-19 Health and Safety Information
This year, we released and continued to update our COVID-19 business updates section. As of December 31, 2020, more than 745,000 business pages reflect health and safety precautions implemented at a business, half of which came directly from business owners. The most common health and safety properties reflected on Yelp include: masks required for customers, social distancing enforced, and staff wears masks. We also saw more than 505,000 business pages reflect whether they offer virtual services — such as consultations, classes, tours, and more.
Yelp’s Recommendation Software
In 2020, Yelp received more than 18.1 million reviews. About 25% of these reviews were not recommended by our recommendation software, which is designed to find and weed out reviews that are conflicts of interest, fake, solicited, low quality or otherwise less reliable. Another 4% of those reviews were separately removed by our User Operations team after determining they violated Yelp’s policies.
Investigating and Cleaning Up Review Content
Our team removed more than 5,200 reviews that violated Yelp’s COVID-19 content guidelines between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 and more than 13,300 reviews for threats, lewdness, hate speech, or other similarly harmful content between May 25, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
Mitigating Misleading Content
Our teams continuously work to uncover malicious behaviors and protect consumers from misleading business pages. In 2020, we closed approximately 100,000 user accounts due to suspicious, fraudulent, or abusive behavior. While the vast majority of business pages submitted to Yelp are legitimate, in rare cases, bad actors attempt to create fraudulent business pages in an effort to deceive unwitting consumers.