How Google Maps reviews work

Google on Wednesday shared information about how reviews work on Google Maps.  They have also introduced new content policies that safeguard the process of posting reviews for business profiles. The Maps User Contributed Content Policy is aimed at ensuring that information on Google Maps is reliable by protecting both individuals and businesses from policy violations. Much of the work done to prevent inappropriate content is done behind the scenes, so today Google is shedding more light on what happens after you hit “post” on a review.

With more than 1 billion people turning to Google Maps every month to navigate and explore, Google aims to make sure the information they see, especially reviews, is reliable for everyone. They have created the Maps User Contributed Policy to make sure reviews are based on real-world experiences and to keep irrelevant and offensive comments off of Google Business Profile.

Google 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 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.

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. This will see the offensive content removed, user accounts  suspended or in some instances litigation being pursued.

Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, West Africa, said: “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 have developed easy tools that allow people to help contribute to Maps so others can more easily and accurately explore their world.”

Local Guides help millions worldwide discover new places by sharing local knowledge and experiences. They share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps and influence how millions of people navigate and explore the world. Their contributions inform people about what matters to them, make it easier for them to find what they need, and help support small businesses.

Google Business Profile is an easy-to-use tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. This helps customers individual businesses, enable business owners to tell their story, verify their businesses and edit their online business information.

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