The Journal Sentinel had been investigating reports of tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts causing travelers to black out after one drink. The US State Department issued two warnings this summer about tainted alcohol and violence in certain tourists regions of Mexico.
According to the Sentinel, 27 reports were removed by TripAdvisor and messages from the website were in their place saying the posts warning of sexual attacks were “determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community,” “off-topic” or contained subjects that weren’t “family friendly.”
TripAdvisor would not release the deleted messages to the Sentinel.
The newspapers report on TripAdvisor is quite damning:
A Journal Sentinel investigation into the workings of the $1.5 billion company has found that it is what TripAdvisor does not publish that poses real problems for travelers.
The company’s policies and practices obscure the public’s ability to fully evaluate the information on its site. Secret algorithms determine which hotels and resorts appear when consumers search. Some hotels pay TripAdvisor when travelers click on their links; some pay commissions when tourists book or travel.
An untold number of TripAdvisor users have been granted special privileges, including the ability to delete forum posts. But the company won’t disclose how those users are selected.
...TripAdvisor’s moderation system is one of the reasons for the serious issues. “Trusted community experts” who aren’t employed by TripAdvisor have the power to take down posts. Additionally “destination experts” which can include tour guides, managers and hotel or restaurant owners can respond to safety concerns — but at the same time these people have a financial incentive to attract people to the area so they might not always be truthful. "
Many sites have ulterior motives. Patient advocacy sites are often captives of the drug companies that secretly support them. Many positive reviews of an online establishment are fake accounts or a merchant's own employees "stuffing the ballot box".
Travel Advisor obviously wants an upbeat site with only modest discussions of unpleasant items such as lost luggage, unpleasant dining experiences or pick pockets. Many sites that have someone post a negative review seem to have two or three positive reviews posted suspiciously quickly thereafter.
crime in tourist areas is always low. People want it that way. I've posted before about that city in Florida that had a wave break over a rocky jetty where several dozen people were fishing. After fifteen years one of those men is still listed as 'missing' and therefore is not a part of reportable crime statistics.
People post about poisons in Phuket beverages but don't know that those exact same chemicals were quite often found in Prohibition Era 'bathtub gin' in this country. When it happens occasionally in a foreign resort it is newsworthy but the fact that it took place in this country for years is rarely mentioned.
The 'apology' was claimed to have never taken place.
No details were or are to be released as to the identity or powers of the Trip Advisor empowered 'censors'.
Premises security can be difficult and it is an area fraught with excuses. Many housing managers will dismiss an on-premises murder as "some boyfriend thing" when in fact it was simply an on-premises murder wherein the parties did not even know each other. It is a more socially accepted excuse for a high crime area.
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"An untold number of TripAdvisor users have been granted special privileges, including the ability to delete forum posts. But the company won’t disclose how those users are selected". That is not true. Any user can flag a review or forum post. If a forum post gets a certain number of flags it is removed automatically. If a review is flagged TA staff will review it.
I don't see how what you said refutes any of what you disputed.
Is there a known and published number of TA users who have special powers that include deletion?
Can a person who doesn't have those powers delete, at their sole discretion, a post they deem worthy?
Does the company provide guidelines or instructions on how to be chosen to have those powers?
Far as I can tell, the answers to those questions are no, no, and no. Which makes the statement you quoted true.
Adverse events such as criminal assaults, rip tides, drink adulteration that take place should be reported. Its up to the traveler to make decisions as to whether any such unfortunate events will influence his decisions.
there are no posters with magic powers to delete forum posts. The only forum posts we can delete are our own. All we can do is flag other posts.