Google Announces Plan to Block Revenge-Porn From Results

Jun 21, 2015
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Google announced Friday that they’ll soon make it possible for victims of revenge-porn to have their unauthorized, explicit images removed from the search engine.

“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,” wrote Amit Singhal, the senior vice president of Google Search, on the company’s Public Policy Blog (via The Guardian). “So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results.”

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Google’s decision to scrub revenge-porn from their searches marks a rare instance in which the company censors the internet content that appears on the search engine. However, “We’ve heard many troubling stories of ‘revenge-porn’: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person by posting private images of them, or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts. Some images even end up on ‘sextortion’ sites that force people to pay to have their images removed,” Singhal wrote.

Singhal added that Google would soon put up a web form that victims of revenge porn can use to request that their image be erased from the search engine. “We know this won’t solve the problem of revenge porn – we aren’t able, of course, to remove these images from the websites themselves – but we hope that honoring people’s requests to remove such imagery from our search results can help,” Singhal wrote.

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