Google to remove ‘revenge porn’ from search results upon request

Published June 22nd, 2015 - 02:16 GMT
Google follows a number of companies, including Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, that have already banned revenge porn. (Shutterstock)
Google follows a number of companies, including Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, that have already banned revenge porn. (Shutterstock)

Google announced a new policy Friday allowing anyone to request removal of nude and sexual images of themselves from search results in an effort to halt so-called revenge porn.

The company said it will remove the images, usually posted by jilted exes or hackers, from search results the same way it does other sensitive materials, such as bank account numbers and signatures.

"Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims — predominantly women," Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google Search, said in a blog post. "So going forward, we'll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results."

Google is the latest and most significant company to make such a move. Since early 2015, companies that include Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, have banned the material. To remove the images from Google, victims must fill out an online form, but it's not clear how the verification process will work. The new policy will not block well-known revenge porn sites, but just individual images on request.

Rep. Jackie Speier from California, a staunch advocate for a federal law that would ban non-consensual sexual images, said it's a move in the right direction.

"I applaud Google's new policy, but there is still a gaping hole in the law that leaves victims with little or no legal recourse," Speier told CNN. "We already punish the unauthorized disclosure of private information like medical records and financial identifiers. Why should personal images of one's naked body, given in confidence, be any different?"

By Amy R. Connolly


Copyright © UPI, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

You may also like