Google has today introduced new content policies that safeguard the process of posting reviews for business profiles on Google Maps. The Maps User Contributed Content Policy aims at ensuring information on the website is reliable, and protects users, both individuals and businesses from policy violations. The announcement sheds light on what happens behind-the-scenes to prevent inappropriate content after you hit “post” on a review.
With more than 1 billion people turning to Google Maps every month to navigate and explore, the policy makes sure reviews are based on real-world experiences and keeps irrelevant and offensive comments off of Google Business Profile.
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.
Sharon Machira, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Kenya, said: “We’re dedicated to keeping reviews on Google Maps authentic and reliable so as 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 enabling others to easily and accurately explore their world.”
Google is using machine learning models to moderate millions of reviews uploaded via the Google Business Profile tool while its staff identify the subtle distinction or variation of various expressions of individual posts. Machines identify patterns to determine if content is legitimate. Among 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.
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.