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

Media Center | Press Releases - TripAdvisor

Media Center | Press Releases - TripAdvisor

In line with this recent concern and increased awareness, TripAdvisor has added a feature on its site that will notify users of major health and safety concerns - including whether a hotel or resort has been the location of a reported sexual assault.

One of the women who had posted that she was sexually assaulted at a Mexican resort on travel website TripAdvisor said Saturday that the company had not issued an apology to her for deleting her posts, despite the website's claims.

Three resorts in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico were those flagged by TripAdvisor, including the hotel ranked at No. 2 by users, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya; the hotel ranked at No. 4, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya; and the fifth-ranked hotel, the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.

Message from TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing.

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"These badges are meant to be informative, not punitive", said Carter. A badge is used to identify a listing that may be violating posting guidelines; for instance, by putting up fake reviews.

Early this month, TripAdvisor was widely criticized for removing a 2010 review written by Kristi Love on Iberosar Paraiso Maya, a beach resort in Mexico.

Kristie Love told the publication she was dragged into the bushes by a security guard and raped. "If a business is receiving this badge, a simple Internet search should present relevant information that is necessary when making a travel decision".

Steve Kaufer, the CEO of TripAdvisor, said the company, "apologized to the victim [Love] for her experience".

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This badge will stay up for three months after an incriminating post, and "if the issue persists", the company says it will keep it up longer.

Additionally, TripAdvisor said it has amended the communications about hearsay that it sends to its users, making "changes in order to be more clear about the reasons the review doesn't meet guidelines and what part of it is in violation". The forum post has since been republished by TripAdvisor.

Reviews are supposed to contain first-hand accounts only, so including a medical diagnosis or relaying a story from another person would lead to the post being taken down and a user receiving a generic rejection notice citing hearsay.

"While I know nothing I tell you can ever undo what happened to you, or make up for the anguish caused by not being able to warn others about your sexual assault on our platform at the time, I hope this letter helps clarify our current policies and explain the measures in place to ensure experiences like yours can be shared on TripAdvisor", Kaufer said.

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