TripAdvisor Allegedly Deleted Reports Of Rape And Assault From Hotel Reviews

The travel firm could be facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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As ELLE reported earlier this month, travel website TripAdvisor announced that it would be flagging hotels where cases of sexual assault have been reported.

But the Massachusetts-based travel company has now been accused of deleting hotel reviews that contained allegations of rape and other crimes.

This month, several people told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (in Wisconsin) that they were sexually assaulted at Mexican hotels and resorts. But click onto the site and those reviews are nowhere to found - users say they've been taken down without proper explanation.

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According to The Cut, Dawn Allison told the newspaper she was shocked to learn that the owner of a restaurant she visited just south of Baltimore had been charged with recording women while they were in the bathroom. When she found out - by reading about the owner in a newspaper - she and her husband went straight to TripAdvisor to warn other people, but their post was subsequently removed.

TripAdvisor then emailed her saying it 'didn't meet the website's guidelines.'

Other users reported similar experiences to the Sentinel earlier this November.

Now the Federal Trade Commission - an American company that aims to prevent unfair or deceptive business practices - could be stepping in to investigate. According to a letter sent to Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin this week, the company is looking into these allegations.

Maureen Ohlhausen, acting chairwoman of the FTC, said: '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.'

TripAdvisor told the Verge the FTC hadn't contacted them. The company said in a 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 travellers 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.'

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