Google Maps found to have millions of fake business listings, company responds

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Jun 21 2019
Google Maps found to have millions of fake business listings, company responds
HIGHLIGHTS

A report by the Wall Street Journal says Google Maps has nearly 11 million fake business profiles.

Google talks about the matter in a blog post and shows readers how to go about reporting fake listings on Google Maps.

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We all know that Google Maps is filled with innumerable names and dots you can click on and navigate to, but did you know that millions of them are fake? In all probability, you have yourself come across a listing on Google Maps that does not exist in reality. After a conclusive investigation into the matter, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Google Maps is home to approximately 11 million false business listings. Shortly after the report was published, Google responded in a style it knows best: a blog post.

“Often, Google Maps yields mirages, visible in local business searches of U.S. cities, including Mountain View, Calif., Google’s hometown. Of a dozen addresses for personal-injury attorneys on Google Maps during a recent search, only one office was real,” writes the Wall Street Journal in its elaborate and analytical piece. “The fakes vanished after inquiries to Google from The Wall Street Journal.” During a search test for the keyword “Plumber”, 13 out of the 20 results that popped up were found to be fake and misleading.

Google’s response highlights the progress it made towards the removal of scammers on Google Maps in 2017. The maker of the popular Android OS says it took down over 3 million fake business profiles until that year. “More than 90 percent of those business profiles were removed before a user could even see the profile,” writes Google. While 85 percent of the fake profiles were removed by Google’s internal systems, 2,50,000 were reported fake by users. “We disabled more than 150,000 user accounts that were found to be abusive – a 50 percent increase from 2017,” Google adds.

The company’s blog post also highlights a new way to report fraudulent business profiles that it introduced this year. According to Google, users can flag individual business profiles for removal. Such profiles are then vetted by Google for authentication of content. If they’re found to be in violation of the company’s policies, they are removed from Google Maps’ database. “We also investigate the associated accounts if they’re suspected of broader abuse.” Google also offers a business redressal complaint form for when a user wants to report multiple business profiles at once.

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