- The FTC is considering investigating TripAdvisor after the website reportedly removed user accounts of rape and assault.
- TripAdvisor has since introduced a measure that allows a committee of employees to flag resorts that are deemed unsafe.
- TripAdvisor said in a statement that it is unaware of an official investigation.
Travel recommendation website TripAdvisor drew the ire of users and observers after it was accused of removing claims of assault and rape users made in reviews of resorts listed on the site.
TripAdvisor has tried to prevent further controversy by introducing measures to flag resorts that are deemed unsafe, but it wasn’t enough to avoid attention from the Federal Trade Commission, which is reportedly considering investigating the company, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
The inquiry was revealed in a letter from the FTC to Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
“The Commission has a strong interest in protecting consumer confidence in the online marketplace, including the robust online market for hotel and travel,” FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen wrote, according to the Journal-Sentinel.
“When consumers are unable to post honest reviews about a business, it can harm other consumers whose abilities to make well-informed purchase decisions are hindered and harm businesses that work hard to earn positive reviews.”
Published in November, the Journal-Sentinel’s investigative report revealed a trend of users reporting being raped and assaulted at resorts around the world, only for TripAdvisor to mark their reviews as hearsay or unsuitable for the site and remove them. Since then, the site has formed a committee of employees who will have the ability to flag resorts where users report safety concerns.
TripAdvisor gave Business Insider the following statement:
“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 travelers to post positive and negative reviews and forum content about their experiences. 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.”