We all know someone—famous or not—who’s had nude photos of herself posted and shared online without her knowing. Some of us could have been victims ourselves, some of us the hackers, and maybe most of us going through Google’s pages looking for the person’s nude photo.
In case you didn’t know, that’s revenge porn: the sharing of private, sexual photos on the Internet without the subject’s consent. It intends to humiliate the person photographed, make her feel unsafe, and essentially ruin her reputation or her life. It’s clearly one of the worst forms of online harassment, and the victims are mostly women.
That’s not going to happen any longer thanks to Google. In a blog post, Google announced it will be taking down these revenge porn pictures at the request of the victims. “Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging.”
Even if Google says that it doesn’t solve the entire problem, it definitely took the first step—note that seventy percent of Internet users rely on Google and use it as their main search engine. Controlling and limiting search results for revenge porn counters the efforts of vengeful exes and hackers. Sure, these abusive internet users can turn to other search engines, but these companies’ morals would now be called into question and be asked to argue why revenge porn must be accessible to the world.
What’s also great about Google’s effort is that there is no victim-blaming. It recognizes that revenge porn happens because of people who share the photos online, not because of the women who with trust posed naked in front of a camera. Both are different choices done by different people.
Internet users have praised Google in its blog post, saying its decision is “life-changing.” “It will be the beginning of a healing process for so many revenge porn victims.”
Excellent job, Google. Thank you.
Google will put up a web form in the coming weeks so people can submit requests. Check this page for updates.
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