After a controversial edit or two appeared in Map Maker alongside an uptick in spam, Google decided to halt user submissions while it figured out a way to deal with things. Now the company is starting to open Map Maker back up to users. It's doing so gradually. The first phase announced includes the countries of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, Philippines, and Ukraine.

Previously Google automatically approved most submissions. A Googler would then review edits manually, especially if community members brought something to the company's attention. The hope was that users would police themselves.

Rather than develop new systems or allocate more employees, Google is increasing its reliance on the community to solve the problem. It's now selecting mappers in each country to serve as Regional Leads that have the ability to moderate edits people make in their areas. Employees will check in less often as the company takes a more hands off approach.

Be on the lookout for users to regain access to Map Maker throughout more countries in future phases.

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