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March 25, 2021 5:16 pm

Google Maps Slammed by Campaigners for Unmoderated Antisemitic Comments on Auschwitz Site

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

(Illustrative) Journalists follow a news conference during the opening of the new Alphabet’s Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke.

An investigation into the Google Maps site for the Auschwitz concentration camp assembled by the Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II has revealed more than 150 antisemitic comments posted by users, with campaigners calling on the search engine to “do better.”

The investigation by British newspaper The Guardian discovered that posts such as “Heil Hitler” and “It’s a shame the SS was disbanded so long ago” have been hosted on Google for months, in some cases years. The comments “Showers were a great experience, Anne Frankly I’m glad I came” and “Good place to go if you want to lose weight fast” had been on the site for four and nine years respectively.

At least 96 of the posts were made by anonymous users, with some posing as others such as the Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, the Australian serial killer Ivan Milat, the SS commander Michael Wittmann and Adolf Hitler. More than a dozen of the posts had been made by a “local guide,” a title Google provides to users upon application.

The option to report an offensive review to Google is available via its “flag as inappropriate” function. However, more than 24 hours after 153 offending reviews were reported to Google by The Guardian, the majority remained online.

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Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, declared that the comments were “sickening.”

“Google needs to take responsibility for the hate being shared on their site and take steps to monitor and remove such abhorrent content, and improve and change their moderation and policies,” she said.

A Google representative admitted that an improvement in its monitoring standards was needed.

“We are appalled by these reviews on our platform and are taking action to remove the content and prevent further abuse,” the spokesperson said. “We have clear policies that prohibit offensive and fake reviews and we work around the clock to monitor Maps. In this case, we know we need to do better and are working to evaluate and improve our detection systems.”

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