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How Yelp Prioritizes Data Transparency



User privacy begins with transparency. Yelp knows that for users to make informed decisions about what services to use and what data to share with those services, users have to know what data is being collected, how it is being used, and where and with whom it is being shared. That is why at Yelp we work hard to inform users about our privacy practices, so they can make meaningful decisions around their data.

While Yelp provides notices across its platforms about how various features rely on user data, Yelp’s Privacy Policy should be the first stop to learn Yelp’s data privacy practices. The Privacy Policy describes, among other things:

  • The types of user data Yelp collects
  • How Yelp uses that data
  • Under what circumstances Yelp may share that data
  • Options users have around their data
  • Specific rights that some users might have under certain laws

Beyond the Privacy Policy, Yelp provides additional options and transparency around user data choices. To mention just a few examples, users have options around what data is visible to business owners about their interactions with a business page, whether to share location data with Yelp (and how much data to share), and can choose whether or not to share contact information with restaurants for marketing purposes when they make a reservation through Yelp. Yelp’s Support Center is another great resource and provides additional information on topics like how to access a copy of your Yelp data, mobile device location services, email settings, and contacts

Transparency around data has always been good practice, and over the past few years has been required by new laws worldwide. Laws governing data privacy have been enacted, for example, in Europe and Canada, as well as domestically in California, Virginia and Nevada. These laws typically focus on transparency and require specific disclosures about online data practices. 

For example, in California, companies are required to inform users about their data practices in their privacy policy, and companies that “sell” data—as that term is defined under the law—must disclose that they do so and include a “Do Not Sell My Data” link on their websites so users can opt-out of the sale. 

Yet, you won’t find a “Do Not Sell My Data” link on Yelp. Why? Simply because Yelp does not sell user data. In this case, transparency means telling users what Yelp is not doing with their data. In fact, Yelp undertakes an extensive review before any user data can be disclosed outside of Yelp, not only to evaluate whether such a disclosure could be considered a sale of data under California law, but also to satisfy our own need for transparency with our users.

We are constantly evaluating our data practices and policies in an effort to regularly improve them, and transparently communicate any changes to our users. At Yelp we understand that building better features for our community also means establishing clarity about how personal information is used.