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Google pulls controversial refugee home map

Sarah SteffenJuly 17, 2015

The US search giant deleted an online map that showed the location of homes for asylum seekers and planned shelters across Germany. Activists had urged Google to get rid of the map amid fears it could fuel violence.

Screenshot Google maps Karte Flüchtlingsunterkünfte Nicht mehr verfügbar

Google deleted the map showing the location of refugees across Germany on Friday after activists had urged the company to take it down. A click on the link now leads to a brief message stating the map was no longer available due to a violation of Google's terms of service.

"We consider access to information and freedom of speech as very important," Google Germany spokesperson Lena Heuermann told DW in writing. "Whenever content is illegal, we will remove it from our products. The same procedure applies to content that violates our policies and terms of service which includes inflicting damage [on someone] or inciting hate."

Many people had shared information on how to report the map to Google on Social Media.

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which works against right-wing extremism, joined other rights groups in taking to Twitter to applaud Google's decision. "Good news! The map showing the refugee homes has been taken down - thanks to all who've helped and thanks for the important debate."