Google has admitted that it “must do better” after more than 150 antisemitic comments were discovered on the Google Maps site for the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
An investigation by The Guardian discovered the comments, which included posts such as “Heil Hitler”; “It’s a shame the SS was disbanded so long ago”; “Showers were a great experience, Anne Frankly I’m glad I came”; and “Good place to go if you want to lose weight fast”. Some of the comments had been on the site for years – in the case of the latter comment even close to a decade.
Many posts were anonymous, but others used pseudonyms such as prominent Holocaust survivors or Nazis.
Google allows users to post written reviews of sites around the world, including the museum at the death camp, which operated during World War II and where over one million people – mostly Jews – were murdered.
A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that the much-anticipated online harms bill “will hold tech platforms to account for tackling and removing illegal content such as antisemitic comments. We will impose tough sanctions including huge fines if they do not act”.
A Google spokesperson reportedly said: “We are appalled by these reviews on our platform and are taking action to remove the content and prevent further abuse. 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.”