TripAdvisor labels hotels involved in sexual assault cases

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TripAdvisor now has a digital badge to mark hotels where sexual assault was reported

Rather than provide a forum for reviews on room service, cleanliness, and other common travel hang-ups, an internal company committee will now be responsible for fielding sexual assault claims and then making judgement calls on whether to attach a badge to the hotel or resort.

"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.

Additionally, TripAdvisor's highest recognition, the 2017 Traveler's Choice award badge, remains on clear display directly below the red message, which could add to potential confusion or perhaps downplay the intended severity of the new badge.

After an investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found the review site removed posts from travelers alleging rape and sexual assault at a Mexico resort, the company responded by rolling out a badge that would warn travelers of "health, safety, and discrimination issues" in all of the website's travel categories. The newspaper subsequently noticed TripAdvisor had removed multiple reviews that described situations in which the reviewer had experienced assault. The new policy was first reported by The New York Times.

A spokesperson said the badges will decorate establishments' pages for up to three months. The company did an inventory of reviews posted in the past year and found "thousand of issues come up about health and safety and discrimination", he said. "Several additional hotels in Mexico-including Iberostar Paraiso Lindo and Grand Vellas-were given a similar warning after reports indicated they had issues with "tainted alcohol and sexual assault".

But when Love posted her experience on TripAdvisor, she says it was deleted and that the site repeatedly scrubbed the content telling her it violated the company's "family-friendly" policies.

He also said the badges were meant to inform people, not punish the hotel.

"In that review, there's a line about a doctor making a medical diagnosis". They have also used it to mark hotels which are suspected of posting fake reviews and to mark when major news events do not reflect the hotel in question.

Forum posts are regulated differently from reviews in that they do allow hearsay.

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