Palestine on GoogleMaps never existed — However, ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza from the map were recently removed due to a“software bug.”
Over the past week, there has been a lot of buzz on social media about Google removing Palestine from Google Maps – Truth is that Palestine was never even on Google Map since the beginning but ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza were visible to the public until a ”bug” removed both labels recently.
Yes, Google is blaming a bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map.
“There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on GoogleMaps, however, we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’. We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area, according to a Google spokeswoman.”
The news about Google deleting Palestine from its maps went viral when the forum of Palestinian journalists released a statement condemning the tech giant for censoring the name of their country.
— Talbia Akbar Khan (@talbiaakbar) August 9, 2016
— Fatih Yağcı (@FatihYagciResmi) August 9, 2016
Now that the news about Google censorship has gone viral a petition from March 2016 ”Google: Put Palestine On Your Maps!” is also gaining momentum with 25,000 people signing it yesterday and 300,573 total signatures.
Google being a search engine giant undoubtedly hold a powerful position and influence in manipulating search results on its maps.
Caitlyn Dewey of The Washington Post criticized the role of tech companies manipulating the world map on the Internet:
In their attempts to dispassionately document the physical world online, tech companies often end up shaping our understanding of it, too. That’s not something that we tend to think about often, but it does become pretty obvious when a map changes/is said to have changed, or when we compare different maps against each other.
This, however, is not the first time when Google has been criticised for messing with already disputed territories. This site shows a brief history of Google Maps showing disputed territories based on political influence rather than physical reality.