YouTuber’s False Review Forces South Korean Restaurant to Shut Down

Hayan Tree, a popular restaurant and food reviewer on YouTube, has recently come under fire for causing a restaurant to close down after his false review negatively affected the business. On December 7, Hayan Tree (pictured below) — who at the time had 700,000 subscribers on YouTube — posted a video review of an all-you-can-eat soy sauce-marinated crab restaurant in Daegu South Korea. At one point, the popular YouTuber refills his plate, but notices grains of rice in his marinade, raising the suspicion that the restaurant might be reusing its unsold food. The controversial review quickly went viral, getting over a million views in a matter of days. In fact, it impacted the accused restaurant so profoundly that it had to close a few days later. Security footage ended up showing that the rice grains Hayan Tree had noticed came from the previous dish he had eaten and were on the plate before it was refilled. The YouTuber himself acknowledged his mistake and took down his negative review, posting an apology video in its place. Unfortunately, the retraction did little to help the restaurant, as the business had already closed down. Although Hayan Tree’s subscriber count has dropped, he has yet to suffer any real consequences for his false review. In South Korea, however, the story has sparked a debate about the power of social media influencers and the lack of regulation in that field.