Science & Technology

Map App Mishap

On July 15th, Instagram user @astagfirollah made a post1 that went viral, claiming Apple and Google Maps had removed Palestine from their maps, while marking all land claims (including the Gaza Strip) for that area as Israel. However, since then, it has been revealed that Apple and Google Maps never listed Palestine as a country, which leads to new inquiries, including aggravation of existing ones, as to why that is the case.

Land claims in the region have been rife with dispute (armed and unarmed) for decades. As a result of this, as well as deep political ties with foreign countries, not much of the cartographic cacophony is universally accepted. In fact, several countries, including the USA, do not even recognize Palestine as an independent state, which is one of many bridges connecting consumers to politics. Since the USA does not recognize Palestine as a country, it is understandable that many companies based in the States also follow this. As such, Apple and Google, two of the most prolific and global American companies on the face of the planet, do not recognize the sovereignty of Palestine.

Neither company is new to this sort of controversy. Earlier this year2, a concern was raised over Google altering the drawing of borders depending on the location of the individual using the program. Additionally, Apple has received flak from other countries3 regarding their own border disputes. These sort of disputes raises concerns about the reliability of these companies, especially the implications of Google being the indifferent knowledge giant it claims to be while at the same time manipulating its information and its users.

As a result of this current controversy, a petition4 demanding Google add Palestine has exploded in popularity, currently sitting at over a million signatures. At the time of writing, neither Apple nor Google has Palestine listed as a country on their maps.

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