Pinterest marked Crimea as part of Russia. Ukrainians dropped its rating to 1.0

Twitter users noticed that in the analytics section of the Pinterest account, Crimea is marked as part of Russian region. In response, Ukrainian users organized review bombing and dropped the rating of the Pinterest app in Ukrainian Google Play from 4.1 to 1.0.

Pinterest has long-standing problems with Crimea

The screenshot where Pinterest marked Crimea as part of Russia
Image: @a_grabovska_

The annexation of Crimea to Russian in Pinterest analytics was noticed by Twitter user @Denia_Gar_.

“Greetings, if you didn’t have anything to do, then it’s time to knock some sense in Pinterest. I wanted to check the analytics of my audience and just look at that bullshit. Crimea is marked as Russia. I already wrote to them about it and put one star in the pm (ed. Play Market). Crimea is Ukraine,” she wrote on August 29.

This tweet went viral and Ukrainians had many questions for the company. However, in fact, problems with Crimea’s annexation in Pinterest have been around for quite some time. There are posts from November 2021 at least, when users also noticed the same problem, but only few people paid attention.

Pinterest’s rating dropped to 1.0, but only in Ukraine

Screenshot: Pinterest in Google Play

Since the publication on August 29, the so-called review bombing began, when users massively give low ratings to a product because of the company’s unsuccessful political position. This campaign was successful only in Google Play, where it managed to lower Pinterest’s rating from 4.1 to 1.0. In App Store, the rating is still 4.8.

But there are some nuances worth knowing:

  • The rating on Google Play is calculated “based on recent ratings from users in your region.” That is why the rating really dropped only in the Ukrainian Google Play. But, if you log in with a VPN and look from other countries, the rating is still 4.6.
  • App Store has a different system for calculating the rating. Due to a significant drop, the app can simply be removed from the store. Therefore, it will not be so easy to lower it, but the drop will be visible in all countries.
  • Both Apple and Google strongly dislike review bombing, even when it’s related to the app’s direct functionality rather than the company’s political stance. There have already been situations when Google Play massively removed negative reviews and returned the rating to apps. This can happen to Pinterest as well.

Why is it important?

For more than 8 years, Ukrainians prevented the world from forgetting and accepting the Crimea’s occupation. We recognise inconsistencies in maps, photo captions, and geolocations and ask companies to correct the “inaccuracies” and “errors”.

At Pinterest, instead of promptly answering users’ questions and promising to correct the wrong map, there is still no word to hear. Sometimes they even hide replies with a message about the problem. In such a situation, review bombing is almost the only tool available to ordinary users. And hopefully it will work this time.