Businesses on Google Maps Can Pursue Litigation If Reviewers Violate Policy

Google says its new policies will see the offensive content removed, user accounts suspended, or in some instances litigation being pursued.


We all use Google Maps in some way or another. The product is one of Google’s most popular tools with 1 billion monthly users, and is deservedly so owing to the number of powerful tools packed into it.

Google has since shared information about how reviews work on Maps. It has also introduced new content policies that safeguard the process of posting reviews, mainly for business profiles.

Named the Maps User Contributed Content Policy, the new program seeks to ensure that information posted on Maps is reliable by protecting businesses and individuals from policy violations.

Substantial work can also be put into stopping inappropriate content from being posted – and all that is said to be done behind the scenes.

So, what happens when a person posts a review?

When you fire up Maps, you always want to navigate around town or read a review about a given destination. To this end, Google aims to make sure the information they see, especially reviews, is reliable for everyone.

Enter the Maps User Contributed Policy, which seeks to ensure reviews are based on real-world experiences and to keep irrelevant and offensive comments off of Google Business Profile.

Machine learning

According to the search giant, Maps will use machine learning models to moderate millions of reviews uploaded using the Google Business Profile tool while its staff will identify the subtle distinction or variation of various expressions of individual posts.

Machines identify patterns to determine if the content is legitimate.

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.

Policy violations

Businesses detecting policy-violating reviews on their profiles can alert Google via the How to remove reviews from your Business Profile on Google while individual Map users can report any violation via the Flag and fix inappropriate content portal.

Google says that this will see the offensive content removed, user accounts suspended, or in some instances litigation being pursued.

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 of 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. – Sharon Machira, Communications, and Public Affairs Manager, Kenya,