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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Why Google’s New Rules May Lock Out These Business Owners

  • Business owners posting fake reviews are at risk of having their accounts suspended or in extreme cases, getting sued, in the new content policies announced by Google.

    The search engine company has introduced the Maps User Contributed Content Policy that will filter posted reviews for business profiles.

    The new move is aimed at ensuring that information provided is reliable and authentic, so as to protect potential clients and consumers.

    Google Headquarters in San Jose, California

    According to Google’s Communications and Public Affairs manager, Kenya, Sharon Machira, local businesses had in the recent past faced fraudulent reviews which damaged its reputation, leading to decline in sales. 

    “We are dedicated to keeping reviews on Google Maps authentic and reliable to protect local businesses from fraud and abuse and keep the information helpful for users,” Machira informed the media. 

    “Over the past couple of years, through the Local Guides program, we have developed easy tools that allow people to help contribute to Maps so others can explore their world easily,” she added. 

    Google will incorporate machine learning techniques in order to evaluate the scores of reviews posted on business profiles. 

    The machine learning models will identify patterns in order to establish the authentic content. Further, Google staff will be at hand to distinguish various expressions of individual posts.

    This means that accounts found with offensive, litigious and off-topic content, risk being suspended or facing legal consequences.

    Further, accounts with suspicious behaviour such as lots of reviews over short period of time or business that has received social media coverage that would elicit people to leave fraudulent reviews stand a risk of getting flagged.

    The new policy is aimed at ensuring account holders viewing the user generated content get a positive and beneficial experience. 

    “Contributions must be based on real experiences and information. Deliberately fake content, copied or stolen photos, off-topic reviews, defamatory language, personal attacks, and unnecessary or incorrect content are all in violation of our policy,” reads part of the Google site’s FAQ page. 

    Residents and traders go about their business in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
    Residents and traders go about their business in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
    The Standard
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