How to report revenge porn to Google

Not long ago, we published an article regarding the ever increasing problem of "revenge porn" and how Microsoft can help you fight it. We're talking about those nasty situation s in which someone posts nude or sexually explicit photos of their current or ex-(girl)friends, without their consent. While not many countries have clear laws on how to handle such situations, some big tech companies have started to take this problem into their own hands, and offer the means for you to fight this nasty business of "revenge porn". Google is one of the most influential companies in the world and today we're going to take a look at how you can report "revenge porn" to them, so that your "private files" are no longer public on Google and its services:

What can Google do for you when you are a victim of "revenge porn"?

When you report to Google nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of you, which are distributed online without your consent, the company promises to remove them from Google's search results.

As in Microsoft's case, Google also cannot remove "revenge porn" content from websites that host it and which are not owned by Google. Only those websites can do that, so you are going to have to contact each website, separately.

Removing nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of you from Google's search results might not seem enough, but it will surely help. While the "revenge porn" content might still be hosted on different websites or cloud services, it will be much harder to find it online if the links that lead to your photos or videos are not displayed in Google's search results. After all, the Google search engine is the largest in the world and a huge number of people use it to find information on the web.

If you'd like to read the official blog post published by Google in which they announce their policy regarding "revenge porn", click this link: "Revenge porn" and Search.

What Google doesn't do for you if you're a "revenge porn" victim?

Though it's nice that Google removes the links from their search results, we believe a more determined response would've been better. By that, we're thinking at how Microsoft handles the situation. When dealing with "revenge porn", Microsoft promises to remove not only the search results for "revenge porn" from their Bing search engine, but also remove the actual content if it's found to be hosted on their OneDrive cloud service. Google doesn't do that!

They will remove the "revenge porn" images and videos from their search results but, if that content is stored in Google Drive, the content itself will not be removed. This is an area that we believe Google should take into consideration.

How to report "revenge porn" to Google

To report "revenge porn" to Google, you'll need to go to the Remove information from Google website. It should look similar to the screen capture below:

Google's web page offers some information regarding the way in which they will handle your content removal request, as well as a web form in which you can enter the details of your request.

Unfortunately, we found this web form to be rather complicated. To make things easier, here are the steps you need to make in order to go through it:

  • once you've landed on the Remove information from Google web form, scroll down and select the "Remove information you see in Google Search" from the "What do you want to do?" section.

  • In the "The information I want removed is:" section, select "In Google's search results and on a website".

  • Google will ask if you contacted the webmaster of the site hosting the information you want removed. The next steps in this web form depend on what you choose. The most common situation is probably when you either couldn't contact the website hosting the information, or the webmaster of that site didn't respond to you. Choose the option that best describes your situation right now.

  • When the form asks you what kind of information you want to remove, select "a picture of myself".

  • Google will now ask you if the images or videos you want removed from their search results contain nude or sexually explicit materials with you. As you're a victim of "revenge porn", you should answer Yes.

  • Next, you must tell Google if the images and videos were distributed online with your consent. If they did not, and the content is indeed "revenge porn", choose No.

Google now knows what kind of content you want removed from their search results. However, the web form is not complete and your request will not be sent to Google until you also fill your personal details and the URLs (web pages) holding the "revenge porn" images or videos.

Note that Google's form also lets you add a few screenshots of the "revenge porn" web pages, so that they can identify the offending content faster. Fill in all these details, and click or tap the Submit button at the end.

Conclusion

"Revenge porn" is bad and its effect on its victims is devastating, both in their private lives and in their professional careers. As a matter of fact the one(s) that publish such image or video materials online manage to meet their goal of humiliating and shaming their victims. But it doesn't have to stay that way. If you find yourself in such a situation, you can report the web pages hosting the "revenge porn" content to Google and Microsoft. Even if the content itself will not disappear, it will be at least much more harder to find by other people .