One of Google Maps’ biggest points of appeal is the way in which it can be interacted and edited by anyone, 100% free of charge with no specific restrictions in place. At the same time, this can also be its Achilles heel.
The sheer openness of Google Maps makes it the ideal playground for spammers, scammers and fraudsters to do their thing. Even so, the extent to which Google is preventing such nefarious activities from taking place is no less than astonishing.
In a recent blog post, the search giant documented in its Google Maps and Google Business Profile spam fighting efforts by 2021. Within which, it claimed to have blocked in excess of 100 million suspicious business profile edits, safeguarding at least 100,000 businesses from targeted attacks.
“Every day we receive around 20 million contributions from people using Maps. Those contributions include everything from updated business hours and phone numbers to photos and reviews,” wrote Google.
“As with any platform that accepts contributed content, we have to stay vigilant in our efforts to fight abuse and make sure this information is accurate. “
“Thanks to a combination of machine learning and human operators, we continue to decrease the amount of content seen on Maps that is fraudulent or abusive – in fact, it’s less than one percent of all the content that is viewed on Maps. Today, we’re sharing more about how we kept irrelevant and offensive information off of Google Maps throughout 2021.”
Google Declares War on Spammers and Scammers
When you consider just how much activity takes place on Google Maps every hour of every day, the very idea of moderating the whole thing seems almost impossible. Even so, Google has made clear its intentions to do just that, and is beaming with pride over its successes to date.
Whichever way you look at it, the figures from 2021 alone make for impressive reading:
- More than 7 million fraudulent business profiles shut down
- 12 million fake business profiles blocked from being created
- 8 million fraudulent business claims declined
- 1 million accounts permanently closed for violating policies
- 95 million reviews removed for breaching terms and conditions
- More than 190 million photos and images blocked or removed
Consequently, Google now claims that Maps is around 99% spam-free. A reassuring figure, given just how many people put their faith in Google Maps each day for business listings, reviews, recommendations and more.
“Local knowledge that our global community contributes is a huge part of what makes Google Maps more than a navigation tool. We’ll continue to invest in keeping this information fresh and reliable so you can discover information about the world around you,” said Google at the conclusion of its statement.