by Graham Pierrepoint
Not a day goes by these days without a popular tech firm or well-known brand being pulled up – this is the transparent world we live in, after all – and after yet another controversy facing Uber having been made public recently, it seems it is now the turn of popular online travel guide TripAdvisor to face the music over a matter which could face further investigation. The website, which people log into for recommendations in their local area or while on vacation, remains hugely popular on mobile as well as on desktop – though it seems the issue of select censorship may be affecting the firm’s otherwise shining status if recent reports are found to be true.
It’s been reported – after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first exposed the story recently – that TripAdvisor had allegedly censored or removed comments or reviews left at certain establishments which made claims regarding sexual assault or rape – something which the website claims it has now turned around via its new badge system to help flag hotels in particular – though the badges are only temporary. Much of the issue is thought to be surrounding the site’s requirement for family-friendly reports and reviews – which may have meant that more serious claims could have been censored out.
The FTC is, according to some sources, said to be looking into practices ▶ in place at TripAdvisor – and, in a statement, has made it clear that they are concerned about the effects that such censorship could have upon how other users of a website could perceive certain establishments. The Verge, who has been in touch with TripAdvisor regarding such issues, received a full statement from the website in light of such a potential investigation – which, apparently, they are denying knowledge of.
“We are not aware of an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission nor have they contacted us. TripAdvisor is a global user-generated content platform that enables travellers to post positive and negative reviews and forum content about their experiences,” advised the statement. “We receive 290 pieces of content a minute and need to ensure that information posted on our site adheres to our content guidelines to ensure the integrity of these posts. We stand by our publishing guidelines and how they are applied.”
Could changes be on the way for TripAdvisor? Are the FTC genuinely looking into their practices? No such official word yet – stay tuned.