Google Maps, a web mapping platform offered by Google, is toughening its automated technologies to catch fake reviews before they’re even seen.
Over 300 million contributors share their experiences on Google Maps each year, helping people get the latest information for more than 250 million places around the world. With over 20 million reviews, photos, business hour updates and other contributions added to Maps each day, the platform is invested in making sure information is accurate and unhelpful content is removed.
To make this viable, the platform, in a blog post, is seen explaining its 3 ways to stop policy-violating content from being submitted.
Responding quickly to real-time abuse
Google’s systems are constantly monitoring for unusual patterns in contributed content. When a suspicious activity is detected, the platform acts quickly and implements protections to prevent further abuse. This can include everything from taking down policy-violating content to temporarily disabling new contributions.
Preventing abuse ahead of sensitive moments
In addition to protecting places after witnessing signs of abuse, Google Maps proactively protects places during times when it is anticipated to be an uptick in off-topic and unhelpful content. In situations of spreading misinformation, the platform limits the ability for people to suggest edits to phone numbers, addresses and other factual information.
Instating longer-term protections
Beyond these temporary protections, there are also longer-term protections for places where it find user contributions to be consistently unhelpful, harmful, or off-topic. This includes places that people go to without choice or places only accessible to people stationed or assigned there, such as police stations and prisons. A set of frameworks helps the system to evaluate how helpful user input might be for these types of places, and based on the outcome it may apply restrictions ranging from limiting contributions to blocking a specific type of content to blocking contributed content altogether.
In these instances, Google may inform users when contributions to certain places can’t be accepted. For example, if someone is looking to write a review for a prison on Google Maps, they may find a notification banner that says this functionality is turned off with a link to learn more about our policies. Even in cases where the platform imposes restrictions, people can still see helpful information about these places, like its address, website and phone number. In circumstances that warrant protections, the platforms wide range of techniques help prevent bad content from being contributed.