FTC Puts TripAdvisor Under The Microscope Following Reports It Removed Rape Warnings
FTC is probing TripAdvisor for removing the accounts of users who had posted comments regarding sexual harassment and rape at some of its listed places. Now, TripAdvisor has created a new department to flag such reports on its website, which received negative reviews that are of serious nature.
The claims by users on the website that their comments were removed within a day have raised questions on TripAdvisors' conduct.
Reports Of Misconduct By TripAdvisor
The users of TripAdvisor have accused the portal of deleting reviews against some resorts which were involved in assault and rape. TripAdvisor has brought in measures to flag comments of such nature from its website. These steps taken by TripAdvisor has caught the watchful eyes of Federal Trade Commission. The case is now reportedly under investigation by FTC.
"The Commision has a strong interest in protecting consumer confidence in the online marketplace, including the robust online market for hotel and travel," says Maureen Ohlhausen, acting chairwomen of the FTC. The regulatory body views the censoring of reviews as a grave incident of misconduct on part of TripAdvisor.
According to FTC, when consumers are not allowed to post reviews on businesses that provide them with services, it undermines the right of a consumer to be well informed about a particular business. For websites such as TripAdvisor, which is into such an industry where it provides reviews on businesses, it's even more important to safeguard the rights of the consumer so that they can make an informed decision.
Journal Sentinel's report prompted FTC to take action and the preliminary investigation is based on it. The journal cited censorship of comments by TripAdvisor as they had deleted comments of rapes, assaults and other injuries, even deaths among vacationing travelers in a Mexico resort.
Once the report was out in the open, TripAdvisor started issuing notices to the businesses who have received negative reviews on its site. The businesses with such reviews will now have a warning banner for visitors to see and it will remain on the page up to three months. After this period, TripAdvisor will review the business and if the feedback is good then the banner will be removed.
TripAdvisor has refused to acknowledge that it has received any communication from the FTC. However, TripAdvisor released a statement conveying that it receives hundreds of contents per minute every single day and so far its system has worked just fine. The platform is an open space for any user to generate content, it is a difficult task to get everything right from the get-go. At the end, TripAdvisor said that it works for the benefit of both the businesses and users on its website and reviews its guidelines from time to time to better serve its visitors.