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Google suspends Map Maker service after digital vandalism

Nick Summers, @nisummers
May 11, 2015
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Google is suspending Map Maker, the service that allows anyone to contribute to Google Maps, following a prank submission that showed the Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo. When the mapping mischief was first discovered, most of us had a good chuckle and wondered who was responsible. Inevitably, Google took it down and later confirmed that it was a user-created edit, which raised questions about Map Maker's review policies.

The service uses a mixture of "Google Reviewers" and trusted users to moderate Map Maker contributions, but clearly the setup has some flaws. As such, Google has already suspended auto-approval and user moderation, instead relying on manual checks from its in-house team. The company says it's quickly accrued a huge backlog of user-contributed edits, so while it develops a new moderation system, it's suspending public submissions entirely. It'll come into effect from May 12th and while Google says it's "a temporary situation," it's also admitted that it'll take more than a few days to fix.

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