INTERNET

Google Vows To Remove Revenge Porn From Searches

The move is just the latest in a series of crackdowns on revenge porn by notable tech companies

Jun 19, 2015 at 4:55 PM ET

Google announced on Friday that it will begin removing revenge porn from search results. The company is introducing a web form to allow people to submit requests for removal.

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

The move is just the latest in a series of crackdowns on revenge porn by notable tech companies. In February, after playing host to a massive celebrity nude photo hack, Reddit banned revenge porn from the site. A month later, Twitter did the same, updating its community rules to say, “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.”

These attempts go beyond Silicon Valley: Several states have passed related legislation and there is an effort underway to introduce a federal law banning revenge porn. And next month, professional wrestler Hulk Hogan is taking Gawker Media to task with a lawsuit over a supercut of a sex tape that was posted to Gawker.com in 2012.

Questions remain about Google new policy: Will the company verify that the requester is the person in the contested image? Will the images be withheld only from Google searches done on the requester’s name or also in searches for revenge porn or porn in general? It’s unclear. Singhal acknowledged in Friday’s blog post announcement that this is an imperfect solution: “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.”

Read More:

Revenge porn could soon become a federal crime in the United States (Digital Trends)
Reddit bans revenge porn. Sort of. (Slate)