Facebook adds restaurant reviews from actual food critics

In this post-Yelp era, everyone's become a food critic. But now Facebook is looking to showcase reviews from people who actually get paid to eat for a living, above the crowdsourced noise.

On Tuesday, The Verge first reported that thousands of restaurants will start integrating reviews from actual food critics on their mobile Facebook Pages. Facebook has partnered with five established publications to source these professional reviews, including Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Eater, New York magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle.  The "Critic Reviews" section is now right above user reviews and includes images and a short blurbs pulled right from media outlet. Clicking on the critic the module takes you to the full review on the publisher's website.

"Since reviews are such an important part of helping people make informed decisions about what to do locally, we're excited to be incorporating a new way for people to use Facebook to find the best real-world experiences," a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge. Even though Pages is really an advertising outlet for businesses, Facebook claimed that negative reviews will be included if provided by the publication. 

Two weeks ago, Facebook launched Instant Articles, another editorial-driven mobile content feature that had users reading articles from The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic embedded right on the Facebook app.

The story behind the story: Although content from media outlets plays a prominent role in both of these new Facebook integrations, Critic Reviews is part of Facebook's plan to become a local search engine. In a similar vein, Google acquired and incorporated the well-known restaurant review guide, Zagat, in 2012. When it was revealed that Yelp was looking for a buyer, some wondered whether Facebook or Google could be potentially acquiring the longtime reviews hub. But it seems Facebook is taking a quality-over-quantity approach to reviews.


Oscar Raymundo

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