Google Inc. will remove revenge-porn images and Web links from search-engine results, seeking to curtail the public humiliation of people who have had their private pictures posted on the Internet.
The Web company will honor requests to take down nude or sexually explicit images shared from search results, Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google Search, wrote in a blog post Friday. An online form will be soon be available to submit removal requests, he said.
“Revenge-porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims -- predominantly women,” Singhal wrote. “We’ve heard many troubling stories of revenge porn: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person by posting private images of them, or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts. Some images even end up on sextortion sites that force people to pay to have their images removed.”
While Google generally prefers to make most digital content available via its search engine, it does take steps to ensure that certain sensitive personal information is blocked. The new revenge-porn blocking policy is similar to what Google already does with bank-account numbers and signatures, according to Singhal.
Even though embarrassing images won’t be removed from the websites, which are controlled by their owners, Google said that removing revenge-porn results should help.
“We hope that honoring people’s requests to remove such imagery from our search results can help,” Singhal said.