On 26 November 2016, a prankster altered Google Maps so that Trump Tower (the New York City home base for President-elect Donald Trump) was labeled “Dump Tower.” Multiple media outlets took screen shots of the change and posted them online:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 27, 2016
The prank caught on, prompting another Google user to similarly alter the name of Trump International Hotel & Tower in Columbus Circle. But the names have since been corrected.
Google allows users to suggest edits to location names, not to outright change them, so it’s unclear how the edit was made:
It wasn’t the first time that a location on Google Maps has become vulnerable to some sort of malicious online defacement.
In May 2015, users on Google Maps would be directed to the White House if they searched for “N***a House.”
Earlier that year, Google had announced that it would no longer allow public edits to maps after a series of “Incidents,” but described the White House issue as some sort of “vandalism.”
A spokeswoman for the tech giant told the Associated Press:
User contributions help provide an up-to-date map, but also occasionally lead to inaccuracies.
The names of Trump’s buildings were corrected the same day the edits occurred.