Google announces revenge porn crackdown

Google is to start honouring requests to remove links to revenge porn from its search results.

In a move that has echoes of the Right to Be Forgotten in Europe, today's announcement indicates that the search giant is now willing to start censoring search results if people request that explicit personal images of them be removed.

This is not supposed to be carte blanche for people to request the removal of any image they are unhappy with - it is a move designed to target images that might be posted to sexploitation websites with a view to bribing their subjects.

Google says it does not think that this will bring about an end to revenge porn - the images will still exist online - but it is a step towards protecting those who find themselves the victims of a humiliation campaign by an ex-partner. The company is yet to provide an online form that can be used to report, but this is due to appear in the coming weeks.

Writing in a blog post SVP of Google Search, Amit Singhal said:

"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.

Google has not revealed details of the numbers of requests it has received so far, or what the scale of the problem of revenge porn is thought to be.

The new policy is sure to be welcomed by web users who don’t want to see such content, as well as those who want to protect their own privacy.

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