'TripAdvisor: Stop covering up sexual assaults' petition gets results

HONG KONG, CHINA - 2018/12/02:  In this photo illustration, the American travel agency and restaurant website company TripAdvisor logo is seen displayed on an Android mobile device with a figure of hacker in the background. (Photo Illustration by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Illustration by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

One woman’s fight to make TripAdvisor more accountable for the places it promotes has come to a victorious end. The platform has now introduced additional safety measures that focus on making it easier for users to report sexual assault incidents and being better equipped to work with survivors who reach out to the company.

“The 693,000+ signatures on this petition proved to TripAdvisor that people were invested in a better, safer version of their site,” the “TripAdvisor: Stop covering up sexual assaults” petition’s creator, identified as “K.K.,” wrote in a statement.

“We greatly value the feedback we have received from the Change.org petitioners and are grateful for their interest...on how to make TripAdvisor an even better information platform for travelers,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. “We know more work still needs to be done to ensure travelers have the information they need to stay safe.”

Back in March, “K.K.” started the movement after she was in contact with The Guardian’s Rossalyn Warren for a story about TripAdvisor promoting hotels and travel businesses where staff members have been accused of sexual assault.

“Without her work to track down 40 reviews from other survivors, I don’t think we’d be celebrating a victory today,” she wrote in a victory message on her petition’s website.

On the petition page, “K.K.” explains that when she contacted TripAdvisor about being raped by a tour guide, whose business was being promoted on the website, the company suggested she leave a personal review detailing the attack.

“I was in disbelief. Was this global company pushing me to relive my trauma on their forum for everyone to see and comment, or worse of all for the perpetrator who is still out there, to respond to me, troll me?,” the woman told The Guardian. “It left me feeling shattered, hopeless and alone.”

TripAdvisor has now introduced tips on creating an anonymous profile, translated into 28 languages, on their FAQ page. They have also implemented a safety filter for users to more easily see reviews that include significant health and safety concerns, including sexual assault.

The company has also committed to guiding survivors who reach out by phone or email through the process of creating an anonymous profile, and implementing sexual assault survivor awareness training with content leadership and the customer support team through the organization NO MORE.

“I’ve reviewed all of these changes and I can confidently say that had they been in place when I went to report my own attacker, they would have made a significant difference for me as a survivor,” “K.K. wrote. “With these updates, TripAdvisor has shown that they are committed to both improving the experience for survivors and providing people with the information they need to travel safely.”

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