Snapchat faces heat after map shows New York renamed as 'Jewtropolis'
Similar instances have also occurred with Google Maps in the past and the issue highlights the problems these firms face with open-source platforms
The popular multimedia messaging app, Snapchat, is facing criticism from outraged social media users after some of the app users found New York renamed as “Jewtropolis” on its map feature on Thursday, according to reports. Shortly after multiple tweets condemning the social media giant, the company responded on Twitter by saying that it does not power its own maps.
The firm, in its statement, added that the maps are powered by an open-source platform. Mapbox receives data from over 1 million developers. Similar instances have also occurred with Google Maps in the past, and the issue highlights the problems these firms face with open-source platforms, which are not always subject to strict moderation and regulations.
Whatever mapping service that Snapchat, CitiBike, StreetEasy, (perhaps others) use — it seems — is showing New York City as "Jewtropolis" this morning. pic.twitter.com/nsVe8goLyo— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) August 30, 2018
Snapchat, in an emailed statement, said, “Snap Map, similar to other apps, relies on third-party mapping data from OpenStreetMap, which unfortunately has been vandalized,” according to HuffPost.
“This defacement is deeply offensive and entirely contrary to our values, and we want to apologize to any members of our community who saw it. We are working with our partner Mapbox to fix this as quickly as possible,” the firm’s statement added.
The users of the app also pointed out that the anti-Semitic slur appeared on StreetEasy and Citi Bike, which use Mapbox as well.
The CEO of Mapbox, Eric Gundersen, while talking to TechCrunch called the incident “disgusting” and said that it “ “should have never happened.”
Gundersen added that their system uses a combination of both automated and human moderation to check for issues. However, he added that the slur is “an error on our part” which managed to slip through the cracks, reports state.
The tech company reportedly provides online maps for websites and apps including Snapchat, CitiBike, Lonely Planet, The Weather Channel, Foursquare and the Financial Times.
Snapchat also said that the incident was "deeply offensive" and added that it had worked with Mapbox to "get this fixed immediately," according to reports.