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Google And TripAdvisor Disable Restaurant Reviews In Russia After They're Flooded Following Orders From Anonymous

Daisy Phillipson

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Google And TripAdvisor Disable Restaurant Reviews In Russia After They're Flooded Following Orders From Anonymous

Google and TripAdvisor have disabled reviews in Russia after they received an influx of fake reviews. 

Earlier this week, Anonymous sent out a tweet calling on people to leave fake reviews of Russian businesses and restaurants in order to warn citizens about their country’s invasion of Ukraine

The idea was shared on a Twitter account associated with the hacktivist group amid reports that Russia’s state-run media has downplayed the attack on Ukraine. 

The tweet, which included a Russian message for people to use, received thousands of comments, with many people revealing that they’d left fake reviews for everything from hotels and restaurants to karaoke bars and law firms. 

The campaign was so successful, in fact, that Google has had to suspend any new reviews for the time being.

In a statement, the tech giant said (via CNET): "Due to a recent increase in contributed content on Google Maps related to the war in Ukraine, we've put additional protections in place to monitor and prevent content that violates our policies for Maps, including temporarily blocking new reviews, photos, and videos in the region.”

Meanwhile, TripAdvisor has put its own measures in place, which involve temporarily suspending new reviews on Russian businesses that have an influx of new submissions that aren’t first-hand experiences. 

Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

Speaking to Insider, a spokesperson for the online travel company said the company is ‘closely monitoring all incoming review submissions for businesses located in the affected countries’.

They added: “We will take steps to apply what we call 'lockdown notices' whenever a property receives an influx of review submissions that do not describe first-hand customer experiences.”

If you go to leave a review a restaurant in Moscow, for example, you’ll most likely be met with the following message on TripAdvisor: “Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing. 

“If you’ve had a firsthand experience at this property, please check back soon – we’re looking forward to receiving your review!”

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

The call from Anonymous for people to inform Russian citizens via Google reviews is part of its continued involvement in the conflict.

On Sunday (27 February), the hacking group issued a chilling warning to President Vladimir Putin, telling him his 'secrets may no longer be safe'.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Russia, Ukraine, World News, Google

Daisy Phillipson
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