English, Fake News

Google Maps removed LoC? No, it appears so only when searched from India


A photo of Indian map taken from Google Maps is being shared widely on social media with a claim – ‘BreakingNews: Google Maps removed #LoC…It’s just matter of time #POK will be ours”. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be found here

Claim: Google Maps removed LoC from its India Map.

Fact: Google Maps does not show LoC if you see the maps from India, but it still shows LoC if you see the maps from other countries. Based on the country from where you search, Google Maps shows the disputed territories accordingly. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE. 

In the comments section of the post itself, one can see that people are sharing the screenshots of the Indian map on Google Maps shown in various other countries and LoC (Line of Control) can be seen in those maps.

Also, FACTLY has got a picture from the USA which shows that the Indian map still shows LoC. On the Google Maps website, it can be read that ‘Disputed boundaries are displayed as a dashed gray line. The places involved don’t agree on a boundary’.

In an article by ‘The Washing Post’, it can be read that ‘Google Maps changes disputed borders based on which country you search from’. The article was published in February 2020 and it mentions the differences in the Jammu & Kashmir map when searched from different countries. So, there is nothing ‘Breaking’ (as mentioned in the post) regarding LoC being removed from the Google Maps when searched from India. A video by ‘The Washing Post’ explaining how various disputed territories are shown on Google Maps can be watched here.

To sum it up, LoC can be still found on the Indian map on Google Maps when searched from other countries.

Update (11 May 2020): In a few other posts on social media, it is claimed that Google changed this policy of not showing LoC when viewed from India, after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) started including Gilgit (in Pakistan occupied Kashmir) in its weather reports.

During analysis, it was found that this claim is also false. In fact, there are news articles as far as back in 2016 which highlight the same (the dotted line or LoC is shown outside India while it is not shown when you check from within India). There are stories from the Guardian and from the week, both published in 2016, which highlight the same issue. This means that the development is not a recent one and has nothing to do with the IMD including Gilgit Baltistan in its weather reports.

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