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Reviewers say TripAdvisor deleted warnings about resort dangers: Report

  • More than a dozen American travelers since July say their warnings were smothered by TripAdvisor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
  • The company has rules for approving and deleting users' posts.
A mascot of TripAdvisor is seen at its display at a trade fair.
Axel Schmidt | Reuters
A mascot of TripAdvisor is seen at its display at a trade fair.

Multiple reviews on travel and booking website TripAdvisor detailing personal accounts of rape and injuries at some Mexican resorts were repeatedly removed by the company without clear explanation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday.

TripAdvisor has rules for approving and deleting users' posts. More than a dozen American travelers since July have said their warnings were smothered by the company, according to the Journal Sentinel's investigation.

The travelers' accounts, posted on the website as reviews of the resorts in question and subsequently deleted by TripAdvisor, described stories of tainted alcohol, rapes by resort staff and other injuries during their Mexican vacations, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Beach Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula.
Getty Images
Beach Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula.

In some instances, TripAdvisor said that reviews written from firsthand experience were deleted because they constituted "hearsay," the publication said.

"It's important that anyone who suspects foul play or illegal activity contact the local authorities rather than use a review platform as their primary way to share their experience," a TripAdvisor spokeswoman told the Journal Sentinel.

The company grants some especially active users the ability to determine what is or is not "appropriate" for "the TripAdvisor community" and delete reviews accordingly, but the company won't say how those users are selected, according to the report.

"TripAdvisor has always maintained — since our founding — a strict separation between our commerce and content businesses," the company said in a statement addressing the Journal Sentinel's article.

"Despite assertions and statements made by a recent USA Today article, there is no tie between commercial relationships with our partners and how our content guidelines are applied to reviews or forum posts published on the site."

Read the full Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation on USAToday.com.