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Google Maps removed nearly 100 million fraudulent reviews last year

Published Mar 28th, 2022 4:15PM EDT
Google Maps reviews
Image: Google

Google explained how it polices reviews on its main navigation platform a few weeks ago. By combining advanced artificial intelligence (AI) features with humans who manually review fraudulent Google Maps reviews, Google tries to offer a safe, genuine experience inside the application.

Google is now back with a new Google Maps report that details the company’s various actions in 2021 to protect Google Maps users from various types of malicious content that might be spread via reviews.

How to see reviews on Google Maps

Reviews are an integral part of Google Maps, and they can come in handy when exploring new places, especially if you’re traveling. Whether you’re on Google Maps on Android or iPhone or on the web version, you can quickly check out reviews for a place by looking it up. Once you find it, tap on the average rating, which goes up to five stars.

That’s where the Reviews tab will pop up, showing opinions from other customers. That’s also how you can review a place on Google Maps after visiting it.

Left unchecked, this reviews mechanism can easily be abused. Google Maps users might post all sorts of fraudulent Google Maps reviews. The simplest type of abuse involves boosting a business’s rating artificially. Or bombing it. But more malicious actors might consider posting all sorts of content that might harm others.

That’s where Google’s advanced review management system comes into place. According to the company, it works at stopping Google Maps review abuse.

Fraudulent reviews in 2021

The company provided various statistics concerning its actions against Google Maps reviews abuse last year. Google says it receives some 20 million contributions from Maps users each day. That’s where its machine learning and human operators intervene to decrease the amount of fraudulent content.

Abusive Google Maps reviews account for less than 1% of the content viewed on the platform, Google said. Here are the kind of malicious reviews or Google Maps edits the company stopped or blocked last year.

  • over 100 million business information edits caught with AI
  • 7 million fake Business Profiles – users reported more than 630,000 of them
  • 12 million attempts to create fake Business Profiles
  • 8 million attempts to claim Business Profiles
  • more than 95 million policy-violating reviews, 60,000 of which were COVID-19-related offenses
  • over 1 million reviews that users reported directly to Google
  • more than 190 million photos and 5 million videos that were blurry, low quality, or violated content policies.

Furthermore, the Google disabled 1 million accounts involved in fraudulent Google Maps reviews and other policy-violating activities. Google also said it protected 100,000 businesses after detecting suspicious activity.

That’s not to say that Google catches all fraudulent Google Maps reviews on the platform. But the 2021 stats certainly paint a good picture. You can still report questionable reviews to improve Google’s ability to reduce online abuse.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.