Yelp looks to promote Asian-owned businesses through a new tool, but it might just end up aiding racists instead

On Tuesday, April 6, Yelp introduced a new tool that would help promote Asian-owned businesses on the platform. The platform is giving businesses the opportunity to self-identify as 'Asian-owned', making it a searchable attribute for users of the crowd-sourced app. The company believes the move will help promote Asian business and drive change as hate crimes against Asians are on a rapid rise.

In a tweet announcing the feature, Yelp said, "Patronizing Asian-owned businesses is one small step we can all take to drive meaningful change and create lasting impact". The feature is entirely optional for businesses, much like the Black, Latinx or women-owned attributes the company has rolled out in the past.

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Many are hailing the company for the move, but it's not all praises. A large number of users have taken to social media to criticize Yelp for the feature. They believe that it will make it easier for racists to target Asian-owned businesses. To understand if that is really the case, we need to first understand how the tool works.