Two days ago, Google Maps users made a very disturbing discovery. Searching the racial slur “n—- king” directed them to the White House. The same results were achieved with a search for “n—- house.” If anyone needed proof of the ongoing existence of racism in the United States, there are now literally directions for it.
Yesterday, Google issued a contrite statement saying it was fixing the issue, but it persisted. Google then released a lengthier apology: “Certain offensive search terms were triggering unexpected maps results, typically because people had used the offensive term in online discussions of the place. This surfaced inappropriate results that users likely weren’t looking for.” The issue appears to be resolved now.
Google has suspended users’ ability to submit edits to Google Maps for the time being.
Product manager Pavithra Kanakarajan said in a message to users, “We are temporarily disabling editing on Map Maker starting today, while we continue to work towards making the moderation system more robust.”
Google has pledged to give an update by May 27. Until then, Google Maps users can still report mistakes and inappropriate material from the app.