Somewhere, somebody is having too much fun with Google Maps. An unknown person has changed the name of Manhattan’s iconic Trump Tower to “Dump Tower.” The renaming of the President-elect’s Midtown skyscraper happened sometime on Saturday, with the shares on social media beginning at about 2 p.m EST. As Oregon Live reports, Google Maps still featured “Dump Tower” as the label for Donald Trump’s New York residence as of 9:15 PST on Saturday.
So what gives?
This is far from the first time that Google Maps has been caught up in a renaming snafu. Iconic landmarks and buildings have been mislabeled on the site before. However, the newly minted “Dump Tower” might be the most politically charged Google Maps temporary renaming so far. People on social media certainly seem to be paying attention.
And arguing about whether such shenanigans are funny or disrespectful.
The YouTube video below labels the perpetrator of the “Trump Tower” Google Maps hijinks as being a “cyber vandal.”
In what appears to be a further dig against Donald Trump and his alleged ties to Russia (the President-elect was dogged by the talk throughout his campaign and it continues even now), the New York Daily News reports that another renaming of Trump Tower was visible from a different zoom angle than the one that so cheekily showcases “Dump Tower” as the building’s name. Someone (perhaps the “Dump Tower” mastermind, perhaps someone else altogether) transliterated Trump Tower’s title to Russian Cyrillic when zoomed into at a specific angle.
In order to view the “Dump Tower” label on Google Maps, viewers also have to zoom into Trump Tower at “just the right angle.”
Google Maps features a crowdsourced tool in their Map Maker service which lets folks who utilize the app to edit names of various map features, from roads to businesses to naturally occurring features. Apparently foreseeing the potential for abuse in such a tool, Google Maps is also supposed to have moderators sifting through any changes to review and approve them before the edits to Google Maps go live.
Despite the diligence, Google has had trouble with the Map Maker service before. At one point, the White House was reportedly named “Edwards Snow Den,” the people of Oregon saw that area’s Tilikum Crossing renamed “Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing,” as well as many other clever (or crude) prank edits.
In fact, Google told the world just this month that Map Maker is soon to be no more. Next year, it will be replaced by another program.
Unfortunately for Trump Tower, next year wasn’t soon enough to prevent some sly computer aficionado from dubbing Donald Trump’s downtown fortress “Dump Tower” on Google Maps, at least for a little while. Equally unfortunate, “Dump Tower” is one of those names that just might stick, long after Google Maps is set back to right.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is tickled with the unpresidential new (temporary) name that’s popping up on Google Maps. In fact, in the spirit of the year of the boycotts, some social media users have gotten so bent out of shape about the “Dump Tower” label that a new hashtag has popped up on social media: #DumpGoogle.
Perhaps the hashtag is less catchy than “Dump Tower,” but it’s getting a little bit of traction as the word spreads that Trump Tower has been defaced (at least in the cyber world) on Google Maps.
Reportedly, the Manhattan Trump Tower isn’t the only Trump property to be temporarily and unofficially renamed on Google Maps this weekend. The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Columbus Circle was also allegedly sporting the word “Dump” for a time on Saturday; it just got less attention than its Manhattan brethren.
Fox News reports that the Google Maps “Dump Tower” issue has been handled by someone higher up than a “Map Maker moderator” in the Google heirarchy. A spokeswoman for the internet powerhouse has said that the “Dump Tower” issue has now been corrected, and the Manhattan building, as well as the Trump International Hotel & Tower debacle, have been changed back to their original names on Google Maps.
So far, Donald Trump hasn’t reacted (at least publicly) to the issue. However, that hasn’t stopped social media users from poking fun at the President-elect over the sneaky, short-lived name change.
What do you think? Was the Trump Tower temporary (and unauthorized) internet renaming a funny prank, or did it amount to “cyber vandalism”? Will you be jumping on the #DumpGoogle bandwagon or having a good laugh over the Google Maps “Dump Tower” debacle?
[Featured Image by robert cicchetti/Shutterstock]