Google is making it easier to remove images of minors on its search engine

Google is helping minors have images of them removed from search results. ― Shutterstock pic via ETX Studio
Google is helping minors have images of them removed from search results. ― Shutterstock pic via ETX Studio

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SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 29 ― Tools to protect minors on the internet are slowly starting to take shape. At least this is the direction Google is taking with the addition of a photo deletion option for minors and their families.

Good news for children's and teens' privacy. In a blog post published Wednesday, Google said it is implementing a tool to allow children under 18 ― and their parents ― to make a request to remove a photo. These will no longer appear in a Google Images search or as thumbnails if the family so chooses.

There was already an option in place for requesting that a photo be deleted. However, the process was tedious, and sometimes the desired result was never achieved. Previously, in order to request the deletion of such “personal information,” the content in question had to fit into categories such as “non-consensual explicit” (such as nudity or voyeurism) or revealing details about “financial,” “medical” and “national identity.” From now on, when kids and teens or their parents find an image of them that they want removed from Google results they can request this.

The image will not be removed from the internet

“We know that kids and teens have to navigate some unique challenges online, especially when a picture of them is unexpectedly available on the internet,” the company explains on its blog. “We believe this change will help give young people more control over their digital footprint and where their images can be found on Search.”

So how does it work? First of all, you have to fill in a form to report a link or a search result that contains photos you want deleted. Each request will then be reviewed by a team of moderators at Google and then a decision will be made. The photo can be directly deleted or be subject to a request for additional information, for example, for identity verification.

The company warns users to be aware that the removal of an image from Google's search results does not mean that the image will be removed from the web. To remove an image from a site, it's necessary to go through the site's webmaster and make a removal request. Google's latest move is a welcome one as major technology companies strive to come up with new measures to protect children on social networks and the internet. ― ETX Studio

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