Revenge Porn? Snappening Victim? Google Wants To Help

Revenge porn, “Snappening,” hacked or stolen phones or computers — there are quite a few ways a person ends up with nude photos on the web, without ever knowing. However, Google is doing its part to help. The site announced yesterday that it will soon give victims the opportunity to remove photos posted without permission from search results.

Revenge porn and hacking incidents like the Snappening have affected lives. Revenge porn victims have had nudes — often photos they didn’t even know had been taken, or even photoshopped images — the victim’s head on a nude body — emailed to bosses, posted publicly, and otherwise used to taunt, torment, and terrorize them. During the Snappening, Snapchat users were driven to Google, attempting to reassure themselves they didn’t number among the victims.

Twitter developed a policy in March forbidding the posting of photos taken without the consent of the subject. This may have come about largely because of the “Fappening” — in which a hacker stole photos of celebrities from their iCloud accounts, and shared them online. Many celebrities were tagged in posts bearing their photos — posts they had little power to remove.

Google did, during the Fappening and Snappening fallout, eventually de-index images when a legal request was filed, preventing those images from showing up in search results.

Now, Google is taking a giant leap in the effort to protect victims. According to a blog post on Friday, Google will soon offer a form to fill out, identifying non-consensually posted images. Revenge porn victims will be able to identify the images and notify Google that they did not give permission for the photos to be posted — and Google will remove them from the search results.

It will surely come as a relief to those victims who can’t afford legal counsel to address Google.

It isn’t a cure for the problem of revenge porn, of course.

“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.”

Lest anyone cry censorship, Goole has proactively addressed the issue of access to material on the web.

“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.”

The form for revenge porn, Snappening, and other victims of non-consensual photo-sharing to request removal from Google search results is not yet available, but Google promises it is coming in the near future.

[Photo by:Matt Cardy/Getty Images]