Google Maps prank sees school renamed ‘Hell on Earth’ – The Independent


A school in Yorkshire has been renamed ‘Hell on Earth’ in Google Maps after a pupil reportedly submitted a name change to the technology giant.

Hornsea School and Language College appeared in the world’s most popular map tool as “Hornsea Prison & Hell on Earth” before the gaff was spotted and fixed.

A spokesperson for the school said the identity of the prankster is known to the school, revealing that the suspect is a current pupil.

It is not the first time Google Maps has been vandalised by its users, with UK football grounds proving particularly popular for online trolls.

Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, known as the Theatre of Dreams, was renamed the ‘Theatre of Sh**e’ in 2015, while Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium rebranded a ‘Sh**e hole’.

Other mapping sites have also fallen victim to name changes, with New York briefly renamed to ‘Jewtropolis’ on Mapbox in August 2018.

Snapchat users reported that New York had been renamed to “Jewtropolis” on Snap Map (Snapchat)

Renaming places on Google Maps is made possible by the platform’s policy of allowing users to suggest place names. 

If a business owner has not been officially registered with Google Maps, the process of renaming does not need to be verified with the place in question.

The prank name for Hornsea School and Language College, first reported by the BBC, has since been replaced by the school’s real name on Google Maps.

“We recommend that all schools take ownership of their Google map icon to prevent any copy-cat behaviours,” head teacher Steve Ostler told the news organisation.

A Google spokesperson added: “Allowing users to suggest information provides comprehensive and up-to-date info, but we recognise there may be occasional inaccuracies suggested by users.

“When this happens we do our best to address the issue as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for the school was not immediately available for comment and it is not clear if the prank’s perpetrator was reprimanded.



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