Last week, the online review website Yelp announced that its users may now officially review various federal government departments and services.

That includes national parks, Social Security offices — and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at airports. Not surprisingly, reviewing much-maligned TSA operations became an instant flash point on social media.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina immediately gave the TSA one star. “The TSA spent $160 million of your taxpayer dollars on body scanners that have a 96 percent failure rate. Unfortunately, these stories of inept federal bureaucracies have become far too common.” The post then urges readers to support her presidential bid.

Closer to home, Yelpers aren’t exactly storming the gates (so to speak) to review TSA operations at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. As of Friday, there were five reviews of MSP’s TSA ops, averaging 2.5 stars. But all of them were written in an unofficial capacity before the formal Yelp announcement. (Separate TSA listings added two more reviews last week, both bearing four stars.)

On the plus side, one reviewer said he’d never “been with such friendly and helpful [TSA] staff.” The downside: “Having a two-plus-hour line for domestic travel is 100 percent crazy town,” one woman wrote. “Minnesota — [you] have a great airport,” another traveler said. “Nobody’s using it, since they’re all stuck in your security line. … Want people to visit our cold, desolate, mosquito haven? Then let’s be a little more Minnesota nice at our airport!”

The tech website Gizmodo was not impressed with Yelp’s announcement, advising people not to use it. Noting that reviewing the federal government is a good idea in theory, the reality is that the reviews will “have no impact … beyond temporarily placating the people who write them.”

Plus, the site noted, Yelp is known for being “riddled with fake reviews.”

 

jmoore@startribune.com Twitter: @MooreStrib