Dentists, doctors sue Google for 'unfair' reviews

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More than six dozen dentists and doctors in Japan filed a lawsuit on April 18 against Google claiming the search engine posts unfair reviews and misinformation on its Google Maps navigation app.

The plaintiffs, which comprise 63 healthcare professionals, filed the lawsuit in Tokyo District Court and are seeking 1.4 million yen ($9,000) in damages, according to an article published on April 19 in Kyodo News. The plaintiffs allege that they have incurred significant economic damage to their practices due to groundless negative reviews displayed on Google Maps.

On Google Maps, consumers can post their reviews of businesses and healthcare providers, rating them on a scale of one to five stars. Additionally, other information, such as the locations and operating hours, are posted.

"The operations of many medical institutions have been obstructed by slander, insults, and untrue 'closed for business' posts," said one doctor who was quoted in the article and is among the plaintiffs.

Yuichi Nakazawa, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, stated that it poses a heavy burden for individuals to request that Google delete a review. And while the plaintiffs can't publicly respond to reviews due to doctor-patient confidentiality, Google has not taken appropriate action, the article stated.

Google said that it has attempted to reduce incorrect information and misunderstandings, but it did not comment further on the case.

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