The claim: No label for Palestine on Google Maps
But Google did not do that, because the label was never there.
Now, that decision is drawing renewed focus amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Care to point out the location of Palestine? The photo was taken from Google maps which is a Leftist company. This should tell you something. #standwithisrael," reads a May 17 Facebook post.
The post drew more than 3,500 likes and 900 shares in the first week. USA TODAY reached out to the user for comment, to which they said "America doesn’t recognize (Palestine) as a nation."
No 'Palestine' label on Google Maps
When searching for "Palestine" on Google Maps, the map zooms in on the Israel-Palestine region, and both the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories are labeled and separated by dotted lines. But there is no label for Palestine.
In an email statement, Google said it doesn't label the borders because there isn't international consensus on where the Palestinian borders are located.
Other major mapping companies approach this decision in different ways. When doing a general search for "Palestine," here's what happens:
Apple Maps, similar to Google, zooms in on the region but doesn't label anything as Palestine.
Bing Maps identifies a point on the map and labels it as "Palestine."
MapQuest identifies a point on the map and labels it as 'State of Palestine.'
Yandex Maps outlines Palestine's borders and labels it as 'Palestine.'
Palestine is recognized as an independent state by the United Nations and more than 135 of its members, but it is not recognized by the U.S., according to History. The United Nations considers it a single occupied entity, but the official borders are undetermined, BBC News reported.
Google said that as part of its efforts to provide a more comprehensive map, it published Street View imagery of the West Bank in 2017, specifically Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.
An online petition asking Google to add a label for Palestine has accumulated more than 2.1 million signatures on Change.org.
"The original target was 1 million signatures, which was reached in July 2020," said Zak Martin, who created the petition.
Our rating: True
The claim that Palestine is not labeled on Google Maps is TRUE, based on our research. The company said it displays any disputed borders as a dashed gray line, and it includes labels and dashed lines for the Gaza Strip and West Bank on its maps. A Google statement said the company doesn't label Palestine's borders since there is no general agreement on the bodies that make up its territory.
Our fact-checking sources:
Facebook post, May 17
New York Times, Aug. 11, 2016, No, Google Says, It Did Not Delete ‘Palestine’ From Its Maps
Change.org, GOOGLE: Put Palestine On Your Maps!, accessed May 18
Washington Post, Aug. 9, 2016, Google Maps did not ‘delete’ Palestine — but it does impact how you see it
Washington Post, Nov. 7, 2014, Map: The countries that recognize Palestine as a state
Independent, July 17, 2020, DID APPLE AND GOOGLE REALLY REMOVE PALESTINE FROM MAPS?
History, Aug. 11, 2017, Palestine
BBC News, Sept. 16, 2020, Israel's borders explained in maps
Fox News, May 3, 2013, Google changes Palestinian location from 'Territories' to 'Palestine'
Reuters, Nov. 29, 2012, Palestinians win de facto U.N. recognition of sovereign state
United States Courts glossary, accessed May 21
Mondoweiss, June 3, 2019, Palestinian cities are ghost towns between settlements, on Google Maps
Tasnim News Agency, July 17, 2020, Social Media Users Slam Google, Apple for Deleting Palestine From Their Maps
Google, May 20, email exchange with USA TODAY
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Google Maps does not label Palestine