Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

TripAdvisor adds new warning 'badges' to warn of sex assaults

TripAdvisor adds new warning 'badges' to warn of sex assaults

TripAdvisor has added an badge to the pages about hotels where sexual assaults are reported, the travel website confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday.

The badges will remain on the site for three months but will be kept up if "issues persist".

Amid a continuing deluge of reports detailing just how pervasive sexual harassment and assault are throughout U.s. culture, TripAdvisor is taking steps to protect its customers.

The new change comes a week after the site issued a public apology to Dallas native Kristie Love for repeatedly deleting a post she wrote in 2010 about being raped by a security guard at the Paraiso Maya resort.

"A few years ago, we changed that policy to allow more descriptive reviews on the site about first-hand accounts of serious incidents like rape or assault".

"When we were made aware that this user's post had been removed, we republished it in line with our current policy and have apologized to the victim for her experience", Kaufer wrote in a November 3 LinkedIn post.

"We have chose to introduce a new badge notification that will be displayed on a business's listing page when an issue relating to that business is reported on by credible media sources", Tara Lieberman, a TripAdvisor spokeswoman, tells Vogue.

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Spokesman Kevin Carter, said: "We want consumers to see good and bad reviews of businesses". All are ranked in the top five best hotels in the area, and have received thousands of positive reviews. "These badges are meant to be informative, not punitive", he told the paper. TripAdvisor refused to show the Journal Sentinel which posts it had deleted, the newspaper said.

A TripAdvisor committee will be reviewing badges to determine if they need to be kept attached to a business beyond the initial three months.

Recently, we reported on a case where a woman contacted TripAdvisor about whether to book a hotel that had a sexual assault warning attached to it. Reviews in the past have been rejected on grounds of hearsay, as they would sometimes cite the opinion of someone else or include a medical diagnosis.

In further addressing consumer concerns, TripAdvisor has taken a look at their communications with users and vowed "to be more clear about the reasons a review doesn't meet guidelines and what part of it is in violation".

Now, TripAdvisor will clearly explain to users the phrasing or sentences in a review that violate the website's guidelines, Hoyt said, and invite users to edit and resubmit their reviews. Another badge is used to note when TripAdvisor freezes reviews during major news events where posts may not reflect the opinions of actual guests.

The Journal Sentinel found that an untold number of "trusted community members" have the ability to remove forum posts and that "destination experts" - members who provide advice on travel spots - can be local tour guides, property owners and have other financial interests in attracting tourists.

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