TripAdvisor has been accused of removing claims of rape and assault from reviews made by the website’s users.
The travel firm is now reportedly under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was sent a letter informing her that the FTC is investigating TripAdvisor.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the letter – written by FTC chief Maureen Ohlhausen – explained: ‘The Commission has a strong interest in protecting consumer confidence in the online marketplace, including the robust online market for hotel and travel.
‘When consumers are unable to post honest reviews about a business, it can harm other consumers whose abilities to make well-informed purchase decisions are hindered and harm businesses that work hard to earn positive reviews.’
In a report by the Journal-Sentinel, one woman said that she was shocked to learn that the owner of a restaurant she visited just south of Baltimore – the Rams Head Tavern – had been charged with recording women while they were in the bathroom.
When she found out by reading a newspaper, her husband went straight to TripAdvisor to warn others about the ‘Peeping Tom’.
But within a day, the couple claims, the post was deleted – with the firm explaining that the review did not meet website guidelines.
But TripAdvisor denied even knowing about the supposed FTC investigation.
In a statement released to Business Insider, the firm explained: ‘We are not aware of an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission nor have they contacted us.
‘TripAdvisor is a global user-generated content platform that enables travelers to post positive and negative reviews and forum content about their experiences.
‘We receive 290 pieces of content a minute and need to ensure that information posted on our site adheres to our content guidelines to ensure the integrity of these posts.
‘We stand by our publishing guidelines and how they are applied.’