Google Maps ‘Shooting in Nashville’ Marker

Following the March 27 2023 Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, a purported Google Maps screenshot referencing the incident was shared to Reddit’s r/ABoringDystopia:

An image-based submission (“Dystopian Maps Alert. Welcome to the US”) depicted a Google Maps route. Text on the screenshot read:

Fact Check

Claim: A screengrab shows a Google Maps notification that a route “may be affected” due to the March 2023 Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Description: The claim involves a screenshot from Google Maps supposedly showing a route that may be affected by the Covenant School shooting in March 2023. This screenshot was initially shared on Reddit and Twitter.


Rating Explanation: The claim is confirmed by multiple users on Reddit and Twitter sharing similar screenshots, and previous news articles verifying the existence of this Google Maps feature. This feature signals route disruptions due to nearby active shootings and remains active only on the day of the incident.

❗Route may be affected by Covenant School shooting

16 min (7.7 mi)

Route may be affected by Covenant school shooting
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A reverse image search did not return any matching images, suggesting that the screenshot originated with the post’s submitter. It was common for Reddit’s top posts to be submitted by “karma farmers,” but the account that shared the image — u/take_all_the_upvotes — participated in the post discussion.

In one sub-thread, u/take_all_the_upvotes stated that the screenshot was “genuine.” In three separate comments, they explained the post and alluded to living in the vicinity of Nashville:

“It’s so banal. As if it were construction detour. It was about a serious event, sure. But to see it when historically Google maps hasn’t properly alerted me to construction delays, felt otherworldly. As if, someone at Google maps had this sitting around in a stock bin of stock alerts, updated some details, and activated it. The predictability and banality is what hit boring. The fear that it could have been a different school and a different teacher that is a part of my life. That felt dystopian … It’s become so commonplace that it’s treated like a boring traffic alert. hence the Boring Dystopia post.

“It’s insane to me that I have to be considering life insurance for my partner who is a public high school teacher. A horrific day that will get prolonged for political gain. Welcome to Music City.”

We were unable to replicate the dart near Nashville’s Covenant School on Google Maps, but the warning seemed likely to expire on March 27 2023. Twitter’s search functions remained unpredictable, but we managed to locate two different screenshots of the Nashville shooting warning on Google Maps:

On April 4 2018, SEO trade news site Search Engine Journal published, “Google Maps Now Highlights Locations of Active Shootings.” The site observed the appearance of a “confirmed active shooting” marker or “dart” on Google Maps, and indicated that the marker was no longer visible the following day:

Google Maps has been updated with a feature that will indicate when there’s a confirmed active shooting near the location you’re looking at.

This was spotted [on April 3 2018] during the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California. If you were to look up this location right now [on April 4 2018] it wouldn’t show anything out of the ordinary, because the incident is over.

However, a screenshot was captured yesterday [April 3 2018] while the shooting was still in progress[.]

Mass shootings seemed to inform news items about the Google Maps active shooting feature. On April 19 2021, tech and entertainment site’s “Google Maps has a safety feature you’ll hope you never need” reported:

… Google Maps also offers safety alerts … The app will show emergency alerts from local or international authorities in case of various natural disasters. Maps supports warnings for tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. Each of them comes with its own icon, which will deliver more information about the crisis at hand when tapped. But a user stumbled upon an unexpected Maps safety feature on [April 18 2021], one you’ll wish you never get to see.

Reddit user gatorsya posted the following image on [April 18 2021], saying that “Google Maps helped me avoid this area reported with active shooting.” embedded an April 18 2021 post to Reddit’s r/GoogleMaps, with a dart or marker similar to the one seen in Nashville:

A search of r/GoogleMaps for “shooting” brought up two examples of marked shootings in 2019:

On March 27 2023, Reddit u/take_all_the_upvotes shared a screenshot of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee to r/ABoringDystopia. Twitter users shared similar screenshots, and prior news articles reported the introduction of the feature. News about the feature tended to follow mass shooting incidents, as individual users observed the feature and obtained screenshots. According to a 2021 news item, the feature was active only on the day on the incident in question.