As plenty of moral support was delivered to his family, the missing of Emmeril Kahn Mumtadz (often called Eril) was aggravated as Google Reviews of the Aare River, Bern, Switzerland has been swamped with Indonesian netizens’ bad reviews and ratings. The reviews seem to be controversially emotional and nonfactual. According to Jakarta Daily, they even memed (i.e. made jokes) on its page and shared irrelevant photos around. Have they really visited this place and rated it based on their experiences as they should have? 

Previously on May 28, DetikInet reported over 1000 reviews with not small amounts of bad reviews while this 22-year-old son of West Java’s governor went missing on May 26. As for June 13, five days after his body was found, there were 569 reviews, indicating many have been deleted. Most of them described the river as dangerous and people are supposed to be prohibited from swimming around.

Examples of Bad Reviews by Indonesian Netizens

Those reviews have lowered Aare’s Google Review score to 4.1 of 5.0, which is relatively bad as it is below the Search Lab Digital suggested lowest good score 4.2. Interestingly, reviews that came out before this accident appeared to be good, with an average around 4.5-5.00.

Examples of Good Reviews by Visitors of Aare River

Indonesian Ambassador to Switzerland, Muliaman Hadad clarified that the Aare had claimed missing victims each year with 15-20 cases. However, the Aare remains an option for those who want to swim as it has been used as a swimming spot by adults, children and pets. Still, to prevent accidents, the local government has been working on many acts and rules such as installing signs or displaying information on sites. He added that sufficient instructions and data concerning the natural factors like weather and stream flow have been provided as well, so visitors could refer to them.

Reviewing any place in Google Maps is set up under the term “Local Guides”. Google has introduced the basic idea of Local Guides as a contribution “to help people discover new places by sharing local experiences and knowledge” in the form of writing reviews and posting photos or videos. In order to be trustworthy, such experiences and information must be real. 

In its community policy, Google considers “deliberately fake edits, copied or stolen photos, off-topic answers, defamatory language, personal attacks, and unnecessary or incorrect edits” as violation to its policy and “users who abuse this trust will be removed from the Local Guides program”.

It is inappropriate and abusive to review Google’s subjects in an emotionally or politically nonfactual way because it is meant to be a forum for getting directions or drawing considerations, from those who share their real experiences. On top of that, this action could have shaped Indonesia’s image as it has been highlighted by several Swiss local media such as 20min.ch. Furthermore, the Local Guide scoring is marking further questions: does the danger status or any accident on sites mean the place has to get a bad review? Thus, what are the exact categories to get a good review? Are they based on its beauty or compliment/critique to the manager’s maintenance?

Penulis: Ammar Bianda Katon

Editor: Fareez Eldacca

Foto: Google Reviews of Aare

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