Google Maps now has a user content contribution policy

Android users who have location tracking enabled have likely encountered a request to write a review for a store or venue after visiting. These reviews help others know what they can expect and they can be incredibly helpful for travelers.

Of course, there are people who use these reviews maliciously and as such Google has had to create the Maps User Contributed Content policy. The full policy can be found here.

“We’ve developed these content policies for Maps user contributed content to help ensure everyone viewing user generated content has a positive, beneficial experience. These policies explain important differences between how we address content captured in different formats, how we treat inappropriate content, and the necessary criteria for publishing images or videos to Google platforms,” explains Google.

As with most Google products, machine learning models will be used to police the content posted by users, in this case, reviews. The models will look for patterns to determine whether a piece of user created content is legitimate but they will also take the history of suspicious Google accounts into consideration as well.

“Other issues flagged by machines include offensive or off-topic content, any Google account with a history of suspicious behaviour, places with uncharacteristic activity such as an abundance of reviews over a short period of time about a particular place or business, or any place that has received recent news or social media coverage that would motivate people to leave fraudulent reviews,” Google explained in a press release.

Of course, businesses and individuals can report posts they believe violate the policy. Businesses can head here to start the process of removing malicious reviews while users can head here to report inappropriate content.

Truth be told, this is a much needed development from Google and we’re sure business owners will appreciate the ability to fight off false reviews and other content that is deemed inappropriate.

“We’re dedicated to keeping reviews on Google Maps authentic and reliable to protect local businesses from fraud and abuse, and keep the information helpful for users. Over the past couple years, through the Local Guides program we’ve developed easy tools that allow people to help contribute to Maps so others can more easily and accurately explore their world,” said Google’s head of communications and public affairs in Africa, Dorothy Ooko.


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