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“I’ve never done it. I think that’s terrible,” Hooper said. “When I look at reviews on Yelp, I feel like I can tell the ones that are fake. They’re really generic, overexaggerated accolades. No details.”
Yelp continuously attempts to identify and filter out bogus reviews by means of a computer algorithm. In September, the site delivered an emotional shock to 34-year-old Lily Jeung, a self-professed “huge foodie” who attended University High School in Irvine, Calif., before moving to Portland, Ore.
Jeung had written about 1,100 reviews when Yelp abruptly closed her account, explaining in an e-mail: “Our systems flagged a number of the reviews you wrote in connection with an investigation of businesses that have tried to pay for positive reviews. Unfortunately, this decision is final and not appealable.”
“It’s like someone just deleted my entire diary — my entire food diary,” Jeung said. “It’s devastating. Everyone knows me as a Yelp girl.”
Denying the accusation, Jeung posted a response on Yelp defending her tendency to write favorable reviews: “A lot of the reviewers bully businesses. … It’s awful! That is why I tend to review up a little.”