Google Review Victims Association


We are the “Google Review Victims Association,” comprised of victims and supporters of victims who have suffered from damages such as defamation and business interference due to Google Maps. Businesses and medical institutions (hereinafter referred to as “facilities”) are listed on Google Maps without permission, where anonymous users post personal or false information, leading to damages such as defamation and business interference. We are engaged in activities to improve this lawless state. Anyone who agrees with our cause can join. Members are those who have signed through the “Voice” petition site. We are conducting a class action lawsuit against Google LLC in Japan for the inconvenience caused to facilities by Google Maps.

Google Maps has clear problems, as detailed below:
1. Facilities are listed on Google Maps without consent, allowing unrelated people to alter facility information.
2. Facilities are forced to join Google to protect their information on Google Maps.
3. Even when facility owners request Google to correct incorrect information on Google Maps, Google sometimes does not respond.
4. False “busy times” are displayed without basis, leading to business interference.
5. Not only are insulting reviews containing words such as “bitch” not removed, but users who continuously write such reviews are rewarded by Google with free services, essentially receiving money.
6. Even low-rated reviews stating “I don’t know this place” are left unaddressed.
7. Clearly defamatory reviews, such as “I was sexually assaulted by a doctor here” are left unaddressed.
8. Personal information such as photos, addresses, and phone numbers are posted without consent and left unaddressed.
9. Reviews that insult someone’s illness or disability are left unaddressed.
10. Reports of reviews that clearly violate Google’s policies are often ignored and not deleted.
11. Threats to write bad reviews or refusal to delete bad reviews unless paid off, and fraudulent businesses that charge high fees for fake good reviews, are left unchecked.
12. Medical institutions that perform dangerous and inappropriate treatments are sometimes recommended.

Our representative has not suffered significant damage on Google Maps, and he is not doing this because he want reviews written about him to be removed. We are demanding that Google fix dangerous features on Google Maps because everyone is at risk of becoming involved in trouble. Our goal is to help the many victims who have been troubled by Google Maps.

【Freedom of Expression】

We do not seek to limit freedom of expression, which we consider one of the most important rights that must be protected. However, the posting of false information on Google Maps does not constitute freedom of expression and actually undermines true freedom of expression. Medical institutions, bound by confidentiality, cannot effectively respond to Google Maps reviews, allowing anonymous users to unilaterally criticize medical facilities, which amounts to one-sided propaganda. This spreads misinformation and restricts the freedom of expression of those being unfairly criticized. Medical workers who are criticized unilaterally may become afraid and unable to express themselves freely. We aim to protect freedom of expression through our activities.

【Our Philosophy】

1. We strive to create a society where the problems of defamation and business interference caused by Google Maps no longer exist, allowing people to live their lives without such concerns.
2. We endeavor to involve as many people as possible in our activities.

【Our Goals】

If a website with significant flaws like Google Maps is going to post other people’s information for commercial purposes, we believe it should obtain the consent of those whose information is to be posted. Our goals are as follows:
1. To ensure that incorrect information is not posted on Google Maps.
2. To prevent defamation and business interference by Google Maps as much as possible.
3. To ensure that facilities have the right to choose whether they are subject to reviews on Google Maps.

【Our Policy】

1. Our activities focus on improving the Google Maps system, not on individual cases.
2. We act for the public good, not for the benefit of specific individuals.
3. We protect personal information and prevent secondary harm to victims of defamation.
4. We strive to maintain a cooperative relationship with Google and engage in constructive activities, such as proposing improvements.

【Our Activities】

1. We disseminate information through social media, petition sites, and the official website for our class action lawsuit.
2. We conduct signature campaigns on the petition website “Voice”, the signatures from which will be sent to politicians and Google along with a written statement of our opinion.
3. We collect opinions on specific improvement measures and propose them.
4. We will engage in a class action lawsuit against Google for the inconvenience caused to facilities by Google Maps.
5. We conduct crowdfunding to enable all victims to participate in the lawsuit against Google.
6. We accommodate media inquiries as much as possible.
7. We incorporate the opinions of as many people as possible.

It is necessary to propose specific improvement measures to Google and society regarding the problems with Google Maps. We would appreciate any suggestions on how to fix these issues with Google Maps.

【Problems with Google Maps】

Google Maps is one of the most widely used online maps globally. Google lists facilities on Google Maps without permission. Anyone can change facility information on Google Maps, and it is often used for harassment and business interference. Facility managers are essentially forced to register with Google Business Profiles to protect their information.

Google Maps includes a function called Google Reviews that allows users to write reviews and rate facilities. Since anyone can write reviews anonymously on Google Maps, incorrect information is often posted, creating a lawless zone where defamation and business interference occur.

Google has established rules in the form of Google policies. However, these policies are created by Google, and decisions on violations are made arbitrarily by Google. While malicious reviews can be requested for deletion, they are often denied. If a review is not judged to be a policy violation, even illegal postings are ignored until a court orders Google to delete them. It is unreasonable that facilities have to resolve issues caused by Google Maps, which Google has created for profit. Facilities should have the right to choose whether to be subject to Google Maps’ review function.

In Japan, suing for malicious reviews involves significant costs, and even if one wins, not all costs are recoverable. Litigation requires significant effort, and it takes a long time for reviews to be deleted. Being involved in litigation itself is not good for a facility’s image. There are even situations where perpetrators of harassment retaliate. Unfortunately, Japanese courts unreasonably require that the reviewed party must prove the falsehood of the claims in order to have them removed. Instead, Japanese courts should require the person who wrote the malicious review to prove that what they wrote is true. Even if malicious reviews are deleted, the person who wrote them can easily write new malicious reviews. Resolving issues through litigation is not easy in Japan.

Unlike social media platforms like Facebook, facilities are compulsorily listed on Google Maps and cannot opt out. Although there is a way to change a facility’s status to “closed” on Google Maps, this would inaccurately portray the operating status of the facility. In addition, anyone can change a facility’s status back to “open.” There are reports of people who have become depressed and committed suicide due to defamation written on Google Maps. There are also reports of people who wrote defamatory content on Google Maps and then committed suicide when retaliated against.

Facility managers can respond to reviews on Google Maps, but no one else can. If a facility responds to a review, it may negatively affect its image. It is extremely difficult for Japanese medical institutions, bound by confidentiality, to respond to reviews. Therefore, medical institutions that have been maliciously reviewed cannot adequately respond, and users can anonymously unilaterally defame medical institutions.

Even when there are issues with Google Maps, there is no support helpline available in Japan where Google employees can directly handle inquiries. The Japanese subsidiary of Google does not have sufficient authority to deal with problems. Even if the issue occurs in Japan, in many cases, one is required to contact Google’s headquarters in the U.S. in English. When victims of defamation or business interference on Google Maps contact Google, Google often does nothing and ignores them. Many Japanese media requests for interviews are also ignored by Google.

Google announced in 2023 that it had addressed over 170 million policy-violating reviews on Google Maps. Despite there being such a vast number of policy-violating reviews on Google Maps, Google does not have a department or responsible person in Japan to handle requests for deleting reviews on Google Maps, according to a study by a panel of experts called the “Platform Services Study Group,” launched by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2018.

There are opinions that Google Maps does not need a customer support service because it is a free service. However, while Google Maps is a free service for users, it certainly does not act as a service for facilities that are listed on Google Maps without their consent and are inconvenienced by Google Maps. If anything, facilities suffer damage due to Google Maps.

Even the Imperial Palace and religious facilities are subject to ratings and false information and defamation on Google Maps. Google Maps allows anyone to post personal information without the individual’s knowledge. It is also possible to defame someone using another person’s name. Patients can also insult other patients. There are even cases where children have written defamatory reviews. Because Google often refuses to delete malicious reviews, there are increasing instances of threats to write defamatory content on Google reviews or demands for money in exchange for removing defamatory reviews.

【Serious Problems Google Maps Poses to Japanese Healthcare

Defamation and business interference via Google Maps severely affect Japanese medical institutions in particular, mainly for the following reasons:

In Japan, there are many elderly people, and patients pay little for medical care out of pocket. As a result, many patients visit medical institutions, increasingly burdening such institutions. In Japan, when patients receive medical care at a medical institution, they essentially receive money from Japan. Therefore, the government requires medical institutions to keep the quality of medical care below a certain level. Medical institutions have a mission to refuse patients’ selfish demands and prevent wastage of medical expenses. However, patient dissatisfaction with such policies is directed at medical institutions, not the administration. The difficulty of visiting medical institutions due to COVID-19 has also affected this. In Japan, there are people who mistakenly think that customers or patients are more important than business establishments or medical institutions, leading to serious harassment of shop staff and medical personnel. The work of medical institutions is serious, and patients being in poor health can make them mentally unstable, exacerbating the severity of defamation on Google Maps.

Some people say that doctors in Japan lack hospitality. We believe that this sentiment leads to occupational discrimination. There are hospitable and inhospitable doctors, as in any profession. The quality of healthcare overall is the responsibility of the managing administration, not individual doctors.

In Japan, doctors are often misunderstood as being in a strong position, when in actuality, their position is weak. Japanese doctors cannot choose their patients and cannot set their fees. Doctors are bound by confidentiality and cannot publicly reveal the truth to counter defamation. Doctors’ personal information is public, and their workplaces and working hours are also public. There are many cases where doctors are disadvantaged in court. Doctors are controlled by the administration and a significant number of doctors are forced to work like slaves. The vast unpaid labor of these doctors sustains Japanese healthcare. In Japan, some media and platforms like Google Maps incite hatred against doctors. As a result, doctors have been killed, and clinics have been set on fire.

Google Maps has ruined Japan’s medical advertising guidelines. Medical institutions that perform dangerous and inappropriate treatments or comply with illegal patient demands receive high ratings on Google Maps. Fear of defamation on Google Maps leads medical institutions to comply with malicious patients’ illegal demands, as reported in numerous cases. As a result, unnecessary medical expenses increase, and inappropriate use of antibiotics leads to more resistant bacteria. In Japan, if medical expenses increase and national health insurance collapses, only a limited number of people will be able to receive medical care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical institutions were unable to admit patients with fever who came without prior notice, and resentful patients frequently posted negative reviews on Google Maps in Japan. There is a possibility that new dangerous infectious diseases will appear in the future. If more and more medical institutions become obedient to these patients, this could lead to the spread of dangerous infectious diseases, and diabetic patients who are vulnerable to infectious diseases may even lose their lives. In this way, on Google Maps, Japanese medical institutions have better reviews if they do not take infection control measures. It is not a good idea to subject Japanese medical institutions to Google reviews from the perspective of infection control.

【Problems Google Maps Poses to Courts】

There are so many evil Google reviews being posted, but instead of taking action themselves, Google is letting the courts do the work for them. But this places a burden on the courts. Courts cannot operate free of charge. The courts’ processing capacity is not unlimited.

Thus, Google Maps, an irresponsible commercial operation, is free riding on the infrastructure of the Japanese courts. This could lead to a decline in the quality of Japanese courts.

【Our View】

It is said that behind major accidents are many small accidents and incidents. This applies to the current situation with Google Maps. Preventing only extremely malicious defamation will not solve the problem because the root cause is a breakdown in morality. The reason for this moral breakdown is that the features of Google Maps are wrong from the start. Facilities should not be forced to be subject to a lawless review function that allows anyone to post false information and defamation; this is especially so since they have been posted on Google Maps without their permission in the first place. Surely, happy people would not defame or interfere with businesses on Google Maps. Crime cannot be prevented by education alone; the environment is also important. As the saying goes, “Lying is the start of thievery.” Committing small sins leads people to become even worse. Google Maps is encouraging unfortunate people to sin.

Google reviews are published to the world on Google Maps, so they are completely different from old-fashioned word-of-mouth reviews. Some things should not be published to the world, even if they are true. For example, one should not reveal someone else’s illness to the world. Rating and reviewing a person’s personality publicly is completely different from reviewing objects. While anyone can immediately judge extremely bad reviews as bad, there are reviews where it is difficult to judge good from bad. However, if the reviewed party thinks the review is bad, then for them, it undoubtedly is. Writing a review on Google Maps has little impact on the writer’s life, but the party reviewed can have their life turned upside down. The opinion that having no bad reviews would be unfair only considers the needs of those who consume the reviews while ignoring the rights of those whose rights are violated by them. We believe that people’s rights to use Google Maps does not extend to violating others’ human rights.

Google Maps didn’t exist 20 years ago, and we can do without it. Convenience should not take precedence over infringing on others’ rights. Google Maps is not an appropriate means to choose medical institutions. Ensuring the quality of medical institutions is the job of the administration, which is precisely why qualifications exist for such professions. When searching for medical institutions, it is better to check various qualifications, specialties, and backgrounds first.

Legislation to prevent online defamation is being advanced. Because some believe defamation is not a legal concept, we first seek to clearly define how “defamation is an illegal act” in the law.

【Our Objectives】

Legal experts have said that it is not possible to sue Google criminally in this case. In Japanese civil litigation, it is not possible to demand the improvement of Google Maps’ functions, and only possible to seek compensation for each plaintiff’s specific damages. Nevertheless, we believe there is significant merit in suing Google collectively. Litigation will lead to the public recognition of the existence of victims, making Google responsible for bringing an end to the damage. This will be recorded as fact on platforms such as Wikipedia. Litigating allows for an exchange of views with Google and clarifies Google’s perspective. Even if the desired verdict is not obtained, it clarifies the problems with current law, and society becomes aware of the issue.

Even if Google advances measures to combat this issue, they are not exempt from liability for past damages, and class action lawsuits can still be conducted. We welcome Google’s progress in improving Google Maps, but merely making a display without substantive improvement does not deserve praise. Google has sometimes touted that it has deleted numerous malicious reviews. However, this means that a large number of malicious reviews existed until that point and many still do. Our activities aim to urge Google to seriously resolve the fundamental issues.

There is an opinion that even if Google Maps were to be improved, a service similar to the old Google Maps could appear and render the improvements meaningless. We do not think that this will be the case. If a judgment is made that forces Google to improve Google Maps, all companies will be affected by this precedent. Google would not want its company to be at a disadvantage, so when it changes the policy of Google Maps, it will move to change the rules of the internet. An internet map with as much influence as Google Maps will not appear for a while, and if Google Maps, the most influential map, is improved, it will be significant progress.

There is also the opinion that even if measures against defamation and shills on Google Maps are taken, it will only be a game of whack-a-mole. Does the persistence of crimes such as robbery, despite the establishment of laws and police, make laws and police unnecessary? It certainly does not. Therefore, measures are necessary and improvements are needed.

【Problems Caused by Major Platforms】

In Japan, it used to be normal to quickly address any issues with infrastructure. However, major global internet platforms are not like this. They have no customer service, do not speak Japanese in Japan, and leave problems unaddressed. Such companies are rapidly expanding their influence in Japan as well.

Google Maps is different from Japan’s past “2channel” (4chan in the English-speaking world). “2channel” was recognized as underground, and treated the same as bathroom graffiti. If one did not look, one would not see posts on “2channel.” In contrast, Google Maps is a map viewed by everyone, operated by the world’s largest company. The influence of Google Maps is very large, and the human rights violations that occur there are very serious.

The problems caused by major global platforms cannot be solved by one person. However, waiting for someone else to change it will not change anything. We must unite and start doing what we can.

The first necessary step to fundamentally improve the problems caused by such is to make legal amendments. The next step is to raise awareness among people around the world that this issue is a serious problem for everyone, and not just someone else’s problem. Finally, major global platforms must improve the rules of the internet themselves.

We hope to form a cooperative relationship with others facing essentially similar problems caused by major platforms, such as victims of Meta’s fraudulent advertisements. Our representative acts anonymously and does not engage in self promotion. The class action lawsuit against Google is expected to be unprofitable, so there is no personal gain for us. We act for the public good.

There are specific ways we can cooperate with victims of other problems caused by major platforms:

1. By exchanging information with each other, we can summarize and point out the fundamental problems of major platforms.
2. If other victims file lawsuits, we expect the progression of their lawsuit to be similar to ours. Therefore, exchanging information with each other can provide useful information.
3. When disseminating information, highlighting each other’s activities to bring awareness to common problems with internet platforms can create a synergistic effect.
4. We can join forces when demanding legislative amendments from politicians.
5. By cooperating with each other in negotiations with platforms, we increase our probability of making a breakthrough.

【The Reality of the Damage】

There are, for example, people who have been written about on Google Maps as having committed sexual crimes. Such clear defamation can cause great irreparable damage to the party being written about, even if the truth is unknown. Nevertheless, Google leaves many such writings unaddressed.

Damage caused by Google Maps includes, but is not limited to:
1. Facilities being treated as if they had closed without permission.
2. Names, addresses, phone numbers, and business hours of facilities being changed to incorrect information without permission.
3. Personal homes being posted with doorplates in photos without the owner knowing.
4. Corrections to incorrect information on Google Maps being refused, even if the owner reports it.
5. False “busy times” being displayed without basis, leading to business interference.

Damages caused by Google Reviews includes, but is not limited to:
1. Personal information such as staff photos, real names, addresses, and mobile phone numbers being posted without permission.
2. Criminal groups writing numerous bad reviews unless paid off, or demanding money in exchange for deleting bad reviews.
3. Criminals threatening to write bad reviews unless their demands are met, refusing to pay fees.
4. Fraudulent businesses charging high fees for fake good reviews.
5. Malicious patients writing defamatory reviews after being denied illegal medical treatment or holding grudges for being refused illegal demands.
6. Companies writing good reviews for themselves and bad reviews for competing businesses.
7. Customers who have been stopped from conducting criminal acts at stores holding grudges and writing defamatory reviews.
8. Customers being unable to reach the store due to incorrect information written by unrelated people on Google Maps, resulting in the store receiving low-rated reviews.
9. Numerous reviews containing clear insults not being deleted and remaining in large numbers, and even after being reported to Google.
10. Numerous reviews insulting diseases, disabilities, appearances, intelligence, educational backgrounds, and occupations which are not deleted, even after being reported to Google.
11. Clearly defamatory reviews such as “I was sexually assaulted by a doctor at this hospital” remaining undeleted.
12. Users who have written numerous clear insults (such as “bitch”) on Google Maps being recognized as high-level Google Local Guides by Google, receiving free services and essentially receiving money.
13. Children of parents who received low ratings being bullied.
14. Instances where low-rated reviews are written before the opening of the facility, or by people who only saw the facility on TV.
15. Low-rated reviews, even those stating “I don’t know this place,” remaining undeleted despite being reported as violations.
16. Low-rated reviews being written about other stores.
17. Companies demanding good reviews from customers in exchange for money and goods, that also forcing their own staff to write good reviews.
18. Medical institutions performing dangerous and inappropriate treatments are highly rated.
19. Reviews discriminating based on race or religion, or inciting wars or persecution of ethnic groups.

【Formation of the Google Review Victims Association】

In 2021, the representative of our association noticed that Google Maps has a very dangerous function. Occasionally, patients started bringing parking tickets from the commercial building next door to the clinic managed by our representative, expecting free parking. Google Maps incorrectly listed our representative’s clinic as a tenant of the neighboring commercial building, and patients brought parking tickets based on that information. Our representative, as the facility owner, reported this to Google. However, Google stated that the information on Google Maps was correct and that our representative’s report was incorrect, refusing to correct this wrong listing. As a result, Google Maps continued to list our representative’s clinic in the neighboring commercial building for over a year.

Realizing the danger of Google Maps’ functions, our representative investigated the issues caused by Google Maps to other facilities. As a result, he found that Google Maps contains countless false pieces of information and defamatory statements, causing numerous instances of business interference. Despite this, Google often refuses to respond, leaving many problems unaddressed.

Our representative contacted Google’s CEO and founders using various methods to convey this problem. As a result, he received the response: “We also think it is a serious problem and will improve it.” However, while Google My Business was changed to Google Business Profile, no substantive improvement occurred, and the situation continued to worsen.

After researching companies that delete reviews from Google Maps, our representative found many fraudulent businesses as well as businesses posting fake high-rated reviews. Such crimes using Google Maps are continuously increasing.

When our representative sought help from the Japan Medical Association, it was found that many people had tried to improve the review function of Google Maps without success, and that our representative was the first to receive a response from Google’s executives. When seeking help from members of the Diet, our representative learned that legal amendments regarding online defamation and other issues are being considered in the Diet, but that it is taking time due to “freedom of expression” issues.

When seeking help from major Japanese law firms and former prosecutors regarding Google Maps’ problems, it was found that many major law firms had already signed advisory contracts with Google and could not sue Google. Even if one were to sue Google, Google cannot be subject to criminal prosecution in Japan, so suing in civil court is the only option. Most Japanese lawyers do not have the capability to sue Google, and even specialized lawyers capable of doing so often refuse to accept the case because they believe it is not worth it. Since lawyers can choose their clients and cases, being refused practically means that litigation cannot be conducted.

The situation with Google Maps has continued to deteriorate, and to improve the lawless state of Google Maps, the “Google Review Victims Association” was formed in March 2023.

【Group Profile】

Office of Google Review Victims Association
Toda Sogo Law Office
3F, Yamasho Building, 2-10-1, Honcho, Toda City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Legal advisor: Nakazawa Yuichi
Official signature site:

【Social Media】

X: @GoogleMapsNo