After a Wave of Criticism, TripAdvisor Now Has a Tool That Flags Sexual Assault Allegations In Reviews
Photo Credit: "Kyiv, Ukraine - March 25, 2012: Close-up of the TripAdvisor application icon on the screen of the iPhone 4."

After a Wave of Criticism, TripAdvisor Now Has a Tool That Flags Sexual Assault Allegations In Reviews

Sorting out vacations and other travel plans can be a major pain. Online sites like TripAdvisor are meant to make the process easier, but a 2017 report revealed that the company removed reviews detailing robbery, rape, and sexual assault.

The posts were either “determined inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community” or removed by staff for being “off topic” or not “family friendly.” Not too long after, the Federal Trade Commission began looking into TripAdvisor’s business practices.

Now, it seems the company is trying to redeem itself. On Tuesday, TripAdvisor’s Core Experience President Lindsay Nelson announced two new safety features that will be added to the site:

“The need for better access to safety information while traveling has never been greater…Often, something tragic must happen in order to engage in a dialogue about traveller safety, which by then is far too late…As part of our commitment to provide travellers with better access to critical safety information, TripAdvisor is unveiling new features that make it easier to find reviews that contain reports of safety-related incidents.”

The first one is a safety review feature following reviews in the 28 languages that TripAdvisor uses. It will surface reviews posted in the past year around sexual assaults and sexual misconduct by business employees.

In addition, it’ll pull up any new reviews about sexual assault, death, drugging, sex trafficking, armed robbery, and physical assault. Users will see a small grey caution image. Next to it, it will read: “This review may contain information about traveler safety at this business.”

These features are obviously an improvement on TripAdvisor’s previous responses to safety concerns.

“For many women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and persons with accessibility needs, obtaining information on travel safety can be a matter of life and death,” Nelson acknowledged.

It is unclear when the features will be rolled out to everybody.