Google Adds Revenge Porn to Short List of Things It Removes from Search Results

Josh WolfordFeatured, Search

Share this Post

Google's philosophy about what it surfaces in its search results has always been pretty laissez-faire. For the most part, Google prefers to "organize the world’s information" and "reflect the whole web". To that end, Google only removes content from search on very limited occasions. Just ask Rick Santorum.

Today, however, Google is adding another specific type of content to the small list of things it will not tolerate – revenge porn.

"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. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results. This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results," says Amit Singhal, SVP of search, in a blog post.

Upon request, Google will remove financial and government-issued identification numbers. This includes U.S. Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, and images of people's signatures. There's a checklist that any particular piece of sensitive information must satisfy before Google will consider removing it from search results.

Google's policy states that it'll only remove images or videos from results if they include personal information as described above, or if it's child porn.

Now we can add revenge porn to the list.

"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," says Google.

The company says a dedicated removal request form should pop up in the coming weeks.

In recent months, companies like Twitter and reddit have also implemented revenge porn bans.

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf