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Jun 19, 2015 02:41 PM EDT

Google To Remove 'Revenge Porn' From Its Search Results

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In an effort to combat "revenge porn," Google announced that it will honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without consent from their search results, The Business Insider reported.

Revenge Porn occurs when an ex-partner or another party posts private images of a person online to publicly humiliate them. This also occurs when hackers steal or distribute images from victims' accounts.

"Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web," Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google Search, said in a blog post. "But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims -- predominantly women."

In the coming weeks, people will be able to submit requests to take down images from Google search results, USA Today reported.

"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," Singhal wrote. "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."

Danielle Citron, an expert in online harassment and a law professor at the University of Maryland, applauded Google's stance against revenge porn.

"What we have seen in the last six months is this public consciousness about the profound economic and social impact of that posting nude images without someone's consent and often in violation of their trust can have on people's lives," Citron told USA Today. "What victims will often tell you and what they tell me is that what they want most is not to have search results where their employers, clients and colleagues can Google them and see these nude photos. It's not just humiliating, it wrecks their chances for employment. It makes them undateable and unemployable."

Citron  said she believes this decision is consistent with Google's policies.

Google joins a growing list of companies taking steps to combat revenge porn. In March, Twitter took a stance against  stolen nude images and revenge porn.

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