back to article ‘Very fine people’ rename New York as ‘Jewtropolis’ on Snapchat, Zillow

Mapping service Mapbox says that a breakdown in its filtering process was responsible for an incident that briefly saw the company’s map of New York City renamed to ‘Jewtropolis’ by vandals. The mapping site issued a statement Thursday morning to address the defacement of the maps it provides to many sites and apps, including …

  1. 10forcash Bronze badge

    Being from the ancient Kingdom of Yorkshire, I find it's potential future name less offensive than 'New York'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hate speech

      I'm not even sure it really qualifies as hate speech. I've heard both Brooklyn and Golders Green referred to as "Jewtopia". By actual Jews.

      A bit tasteless, and certainly far from everybody in the area of interest is Jewish, but the hate is unproven. If you start calling everything with the slightest Jewish reference anti-Semitic, you end up by weakening the term and creating confusion. And you end up with the situation in which a polite Jewish word for a Jew - yeed, the root word of the language Yiddish - becomes a forbidden term of "hate speech".

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Hate speech

        There are a fair number of Jewish people in New York but its only in a relative handful of smaller communities in New Jersey where there are not only a preponderance of Hasidic Jews but they actively discourage outsiders from setting in their towns (and if you're already there you'd be encouraged to leave).

        So while this Jewtopia thing may be tasteless in the extreme (but hardly 'hate speech') there are places in the general area that might fit the description (....although "Non-Hasidic No-Go Area" might be more appropriate).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hate speech

        My wife was astounded to discover a couple of days ago that "jew" is not allowed as a word in "words with friends"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hate speech

          I think it should be capitalised, as in "Jew". They are a race just like the English, Americans, Russians and Palestinians.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hate speech

          > My wife was astounded to discover a couple of days ago that "jew" is not allowed as a word in "words with friends"

          ... then again I was quite "amused" a year or so ago after she'd bought a local meat product from our local butcher and I said "Ok Google .. recipes for faggots" ... as "faggot" was on the Google Now list of banned words I instead got a list of "recipes for f******" which mainly consited of oven temperatures! Fortunately google.co.uk was more helpful in giving ideas for supper!

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Hate speech

        No, it's not hate speech. It is straight up bigotry, though.

      4. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Hate speech

        That the motive was hatred is obvious.

        It occurred by means of an unlawful breach of a computer system, which itself points to a malicious motive. And it's well known that there are many people with a violent hatred for Jews, and that many of them have a dislike for New York because it is a place with a vibrant Jewish life and, likely the most serious thing from their twisted perspective, which is home to many Jews who are influential.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Hate speech

          "It occurred by means of an unlawful breach of a computer system"

          I'm sorry the what now...? You do realize this occurred through the mapping equivalent of Wikipedia, freely editable in absolutely any of its details by absolutely anyone with a freely registered account...?

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: That the motive was hatred is obvious.

          Things that are "obvious" often aren't actually true. You've no idea if it was some hardened anti-semist (is this the right term) or a teenager being "funny" after watching South Park.

          Of course these days anything offensive to a person or group is dubbed "hate speech" which really only dilutes the term. Like a "mass shooting" with two victims.

        3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Hate speech

          It occurred by means of an unlawful breach of a computer system, which itself points to a malicious motive.

          It was data entered into OpenStreetMap. The first four letters might give you a clue that it's meant to be crowd edited. Unfortunately that makes it a griefer magnet, hence filtering being necessary.

      5. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Hate speech

        'Jewtropolis' sounds more like the name of a film or comic book actually.

        Besides, all of those of Irish or Italian descent ( or of other nationality, for that matter) should be aggrieved at the positive bias being shown towards our semitic cousins in this title.

        I personally prefer 'The Lumpy Stewpot'.

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: Hate speech

          Whether the motive was hatred is irrelevant. The perpetrator knew it was inappropriate.

      6. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Hate speech

        I'm not even sure it really qualifies as hate speech.

        If it was just "Jewtopia", then I guess if you were being really generous it might not be hate speech, but according to ArsTechnica the vandalism;

        including changing the name of the Manhattan Bridge to "Ku Klux Klan Highway," changing the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive to "Zionist Cannibal Drive," and renaming the Hugh Carey Tunnel (formerly the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel) to "Adolph Hitler Memorial Tunnel," among other things.

        It was clearly intended to be offensive.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Hate speech

          "It was clearly intended to be offensive."

          True, but that doesn't make it hate speech.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Hate speech

            "It was clearly intended to be offensive."

            True, but that doesn't make it hate speech.

            Nope, the thing that makes it hate speech is that it was pretty obviously done in order to promote hatred against a group of people.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

            Interestingly, from that Wikipedia article, I was sadly not entirely surprised to discover that hate speech is constitutionally protected in the US. Being allowed to say something, however, doesn't mean that there should be no consequences from doing so. In this case, the perp was apparently banned from contributing to OSM for 20 years.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Hate speech

              " it was pretty obviously done in order to promote hatred against a group of people."

              I don't think that's clear at all. It could just as easily have been a juvenile prank intended to offend people for the LOLs. I'm certainly not defending this action -- it is disgusting -- but being offensive or insulting, all by itself, doesn't rise to the level of "hate speech".

            2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

              Re: Hate speech

              As the 1st Amendment to the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law". Since the 14th Amendment, this has effectively meant that governments shall make no law.

              However, no private entity has any obligation to publish anything at all that it finds offensive or simply not worth publishing.

      7. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Hate speech

        There are fairly well-known terms that are acceptable when used by the groups they refer to but very much not when used by people not in those groups. I won't give the canonical example...

      8. Ossi

        Re: Hate speech

        It really is OK to be antisemitic these days isn't it? Equating this with "calling everything with the slightest Jewish reference anti-Semitic" is ridiculous. This wasn't being used in the same sense as 'Jewish holiday' or 'Jewish food'. You say the hate isn't proven - well does it have to be? This is a particularly high test isn't it? How are you supposed to prove that? Think about what you're saying. The balance of probability here is that this wasn't intended to be a friendly or neutral gesture.

        I'm appalled that this easy dismissal of casual racism as being 'a bit tasteless' was so upvoted, and I would downvote it a thousand times if I could.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hate speech

          remarkable, no?

          i'm 40 and within my lifetime i've seen the gradual acceptance of anti semitism, racism, sexism and general dismissiveness towards minorities and 'others' as part of everyday conversation. as well as the gradual rationalisation of the creed of the bigot, sad attempts to intellectualise what is, when you think about it, a mental illness. it's weird seeing it here on the reg. i've been visiting the site for almost 18 years and have seen the gradual and steady shift towards acceptance of these kinds of filthy ideologies. this place didnt used to be like that.

          there used to be a simple rule for how to decide what is appropriate to say to anyone. guaranteed, most of you learnt it as children - "if you have nothing nice to say, dont say anything at all", or put more simply, "be nice". that some people see that as a form of censorship really speaks to the arseholery that's at the core of who you are, and how you view yourself and others.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hate speech

            The thing that has made antisemitism socially acceptable is the whole "Punching Up" meme. Jews are a vulnerable minority but some people, including a former NUS president, insist on painting them as high on the privilege ladder and therefore morally acceptable targets.

            Do yourself a favour, don't google "Jewish privilege".

    2. LDS Silver badge

      'Being from the ancient Kingdom of Yorkshire'

      You could have avoided to change its name from Nieuw Amsterdam....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Any place preceded by "New" gets to adulterate the original name of origin.

      Location naming in general, is quite uncivil and full of intellectual thievery and duplication.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Any place preceded by "New" gets to adulterate the original name of origin.

        So, New Newcastle, when? And Google Maps had not heard about it, yet. BTW I lived in the old Newcastle.

        Upvote if you agree, downvote if you still live in Newcastle. Bazinga!!

        1. Havin_it

          Shouldn't it be "Newercastle" then?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Any place preceded by "New" gets to adulterate the original name of origin.

        It all worked out just fine for New Detroit...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @10forcash; FWIW, New York- the city and (AFAICT) the state- weren't named directly after York or Yorkshire, but after the then-current Duke of York.

      (Probably explains why the state isn't called "New Yorkshire".)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's only one Yorkshire tha' knows.

        Yorkshire really is god's own country.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Being from the ancient Kingdom of Yorkshire, I find it's potential future name less offensive than 'New York'"

      How do you feel about New York, Tyne & Wear?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI doing what its best at these days

    PR to help fire ugly humans. Will that be the topic upon internal review?

    "Mapbox says that it uses an AI validation system to flag map changes, then submits them for review. The company estimate it processes about 70,000 such edits a day. This is thought to be where the breakdown occurred; the AI flagged the offensive name change, but for some reason the human in charge of blocking it did not do so."

  3. nil0

    "Working to track down the culprit"

    Well, here's the idiot who vandalised the OpenStreetMap data:

    https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/MedwedianPresident/history

    ...and is currently banned until 2038.

    The edits were made 20 days ago, and were reverted within a few hours. But presumably Mapbox grabbed the changes in the brief window they were live (or accepted the edits but not the reverts).

    I actually wonder if Mapbox's filtering of changes actually worked against them on this one, as the OpenStreetMap community undid the vandalism pretty quickly.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

      ...and is currently banned until 2038.

      Until the end of time(_t)!

    2. Keef

      Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

      And there was me thinking It was Jeremy Corbyn or one of his predecessors or cronies.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45030552

      1. tojb

        Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

        Fake Jews!

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

        "And there was me thinking It was Jeremy Corbyn or one of his predecessors or cronies."

        Now you see that really is an example of irrational hatred. (I can just see Ed Miliband doing that, can't you?).

        What worries me is the number of people who will stretch straight from inappropriate (and tasteless and somewhat offensive) to hate. If the labelling had extended to adding a few gas ovens in Brooklyn or a caricature of a fat hooknosed banker, we could say, yes, anti-Semitism and hatred. But it didn't.

        Nowadays and I think largely due to social media and its exaggerations (and British tabloids are just social media these days, not news) the word hate gets used for people who don't like iPhones as well as people who commit mass murder. It coarsens public discourse. That suits the people who want to stir up social disorder, whether it's Trump, the Russians or Paul Dacre, but it needs to stop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

          If the labelling had extended to adding a few gas ovens in Brooklyn or a caricature of a fat hooknosed banker, we could say, yes, anti-Semitism and hatred. But it didn't.

          Like "Adolf Hitler Memorial Tunnel"?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

              I don't look at images, I look at changesets:

              https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/61555047

              Pretty fucking simple - why are so many otherwise sensible people so quick to dismiss antisemitism.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

                Pretty fucking simple - why are so many otherwise sensible people so quick to dismiss antisemitism.

                Because they're all too busy believing what they are told to think rather than checking the facts. Which is why everyone thinks there is a 'crisis' in the Labour party because some people can't distinguish between legitimate criticism of the state of Israel, and hatred of Jewish people.

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

                  ... in this case, the facts they should have checked were the readily available list of changes that were made, that, in addition to the widely reported 'Jewtopolis', included references to Hitler, the KKK, etc. etc. and were quite definitely antisemitic.

                  ... in the case of the latest "Corbyn is anti-semitic" furore, the facts point to Corbyn criticising a small group of hard-line pro-Israel supporters (and using the term 'Zionist' in its correct political sense, and not as a wider slur against Jewish people on the whole) who were protesting outside an event he attended, some time in the past, before he became leader of the Labour party. Hardly current, hardly ongoing, and not anti-semitic, unless you treat any criticism of the illegal expansionist policies of Israel as examples of such. Much in the same vein as claiming that criticism of the KKK for lynching black people in the '50s is anti-Christian.

                  Don't get me wrong; I'm not denying anti-semitism exists, and this story is about a clear example of it. People being too lazy to check the facts doesn't make it otherwise. Anti-semitism may well exist within the Labour party as well - it does have 300,000 members, but there is scant evidence that Corbyn has done anything that can be described as such, despite the frustratingly large amount of hot air being blown out by the gutter press. However, I'm prepared to bet you any amount of money that there is proportionately more of it going on in other political parties, such as the Tory party, and especially UKIP.

                  I'm not afraid to reveal that (if you hadn't guessed already) I am a Labour Party member. If I were to publicly make a statement that was anti-semitic, or otherwise racist, sexist or any other form of hate speech, I would, correctly, be expelled from the party. I would also like to think that I can freely criticise the actions of the Israeli state, for example, in shooting unarmed civilians, and not be accused of hatred against Jews, because anyone who deliberately conflates the two things is doing nothing more than publicly showing that they have an axe to grind.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

                    Up vote, not because I'm Labour, which I'm not, but because I believe in principle.

                    I don't agree with Frank Field a lot of the time, but he gets my vote for being honourable and honest. Anyone who can be ejected from both the Tories and Labour would get my vote.

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

        Daily Fail reader/believer, your opinion does not count!

        If you read the article you are linking to, you can clearly see it is a hating spree against Corbyn, launched by Daily Fail, as stated.

        I am no fan of Corbyn, but Daily Fail are taking words out of context, both (incl BBC) get whole countries wrong (the 1972 terrorists were not buried in Tunesia, WTF, why does nobody mention this "minor" fact ???? BBC, anybody in today ????? And, worse, why does Benjamin not know this ?)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_massacre#Aftermath

        Regarding Israel and anti-Semitism:

        I think one should always be able to criticize any state for its actions, regardless of the religious beliefs, sexual orientations, political affiliation of the government in charge. Criticizing the actions of a state does NOT equate to criticizing the citizens of said state, even less so the religious beliefs, sexual orientations, political affiliation or whatever of the population.

        Thy atheist

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

          Frank Field is a Daily Mail stooge too?

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: "Working to track down the culprit"

            Frank Field is a Daily Mail stooge too?

            As a 'lexiter' and someone who was about to have the whip withdrawn before he jumped, for voting with the government against this own party on a three-line whip, essentially against a hard brexit, I'd say that's not too far from the mark. The fact that the only person C4 News could find to support him on last night's broadcast was another of the (extremely) small coterie of hard anti-Corbyn brexit voting Labour MPs does little to lend him credibility. I'm surprised they didn't get Kate Hoey on, but she's probably too busy trying to keep her own head above water after receiving a vote of no confidence from her own constituency party, for also voting with the Tory party against her own.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    “We build systems so this does not happen,” the company said of the thing that just happened.

    Gotta' love that denial/admission... True corporatespeak.

  5. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Trump bashing inaccurate here

    I think you'll find it was Jesse Jackson who called NYC "Hymietown". He's a Democrat you know...

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

      Who's Trump-bashing? I see only Corbyn-bashing, which has been a popular sport in Blighty ever since he got his current job.

      Didn't one of New York's most famous Jews (Woody Allen) once make a similar joke about his city's name?

      1. TsVk!

        Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

        Yeah, but only a ginger can call a ginger a ginger.

        1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

          You mean redheads?

          1. 10forcash Bronze badge

            Re: You mean redheads?

            Strawberry blondes

            or Gwars in Mil. speak

            or most of the inhabitants of East Yorkshire.

            'Our day will come' https://vimeo.com/11281228 - NSFW

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

          "Yeah, but only a ginger can call a ginger a ginger."

          Yeah but gingers are not allowed to appropriate towns any more than anyone else

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

            "Yeah, but only a ginger can call a ginger a ginger."

            Ah, thanks for reminding me it's about time to start re-watching all those Tim Minchin clips yet again (goodness gracious, was it really that long ago?!?)

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

          Yeah, but only a ginger can call a ginger a ginger.

          Just like only a ninja can sneak up on another ninja...

      2. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

        Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

        The clue is in the headline :-)

    2. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

      Well, Jesse Jackson became history after he failed to utterly denounce, repudiate, and abominate Lois Farrakhan.

      There are two kinds of white people in the United States.

      Those who are bigoted against black people.

      Those who have overcome bigotry against black people because the evil of racial bigotry was dramatically brought home to them by the Holocaust.

      Which means that non-bigoted white people in the United States, in general, are sensitive to, and hostile to, bigotry against Jews first - and bigotry against blacks second. There just aren't any who would turn a blind eye to a candidate who is in any way "soft" on anti-Semitism who would also consider voting for a black man as a candidate for President.

      1. Byron "Jito463"

        Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

        "There are two kinds of white people in the United States.

        Those who are bigoted against black people.

        Those who have overcome bigotry against black people because the evil of racial bigotry was dramatically brought home to them by the Holocaust."

        You forgot about those of us who grew up not caring about skin color, but rather content of character.

        You know, like MLK promoted (in some minor speech I'm sure you've never heard of).

      2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

        "Those who have overcome bigotry against black people because the evil of racial bigotry was dramatically brought home to them by the Holocaust."

        So, Mark Twain was enabled by ESP to foresee the Holocaust and overcome his Missouri upbringing? De Tocqueville's notebooks have many conversations with Americans of the early 1830s who are of the opinion that persons of color (including the native tribes) had equal intelligence with whites. How did this come about?

    3. Steve Knox
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

      Ever notice how righties always have to go back 30+ years to find an example of a leftie being racist, just so they don't feel so bad about their current hero being racist?

      1. Moosh
        Big Brother

        Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

        "Ever notice how righties always have to go back 30+ years to find an example of a leftie being racist, just so they don't feel so bad about their current hero being racist?"

        Ben Carson called leftists the most racist people on the planet who pigeonholed and stereotype every race with their incredibly shallow and narrow worldview and hated it when, and I quote, you "got off the plantation."

        Oddly enough, that one didn't get much media coverage.

      2. Byron "Jito463"

        Re: Trump bashing inaccurate here

        30 years? Hardly. How about then Senator Clinton talking about running on "CP Time" (CP = Colored People) a few years ago? And don't get me started on how the Dimmie policies towards blacks tend to subjugate, rather than assist them.

        Also, notice how the Dimmies always cry racist towards the most innocuous statements from conservatives? It's called projection, and the left practices it every day.

  6. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    >AI flagged the offensive name change, but for some reason the human in charge of blocking it did not do so.

    I feel for that human. I find it hard to imagine a more tedious office job than reviewing "AI"-generated map edits, not surprised one got through.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kids today eh!

    In my day, we started a global war....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kids today eh!

      Just wait for the POTUS to tweet on something that gets really up the back of another nation. That could very well start Nuclear Armageddon. He does seem at times like a little child with a toy that he can't put down even though he knows that one day it will come back to hurt him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kids today eh!

        at times?

  8. DougS Silver badge
    FAIL

    How in the HELL

    Would they not automatically make place names containing more than one street require human review? Even small towns rarely change their name, big ones pretty much never do. This is totally different from renaming a street that runs five blocks or a one square block park in a town with a population of 2000.

    You don't need "AI" to handle that, you need a simple rule programmed the old fashioned way.

    I'd argue that anything that gets found via search terms more than once a year should require manual review. If it is obscure no one searches for it, if it is named incorrectly people search for it but don't find it with the incorrect name. If it is getting searched for, the name is obviously correct, and the more people are searching for it the more correct the name is.

  9. herman Silver badge

    So, who took exception to that - the Jews or the Gentiles?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jewtropolis is totally inappropriate. They should have called it Shmucktown.

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