Google rolls out tool to help minors delete photos from search

FILE – In this April 17, 2007, file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany. Google has announced that it is investing $1.2 billion by 2030 to expand its cloud computing infrastructure in Germany and to increase the use of renewable energy. The Internet giant said Tuesday that it plans to add new cloud computing centers in the Berlin region and in Hanau, a town near Frankfurt. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

Google is attempting to make it easier for users to remove photos of minors from search results.

The company is rolling out a tool that allows parents and children under the age of 18 to request photos be removed from its images tab or no longer appear as thumbnails in a search inquiry.

“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,” Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for Search, said in the announcement.

“We believe this change will help give young people more control over their digital footprint and where their images can be found on Search,” continued Sullivan.

Here is how the tool will work:

  • Visit the help page for this new policy to understand the information needed to provide when using the request form.
  • Start removal request using the form at this support link.
  • Fill out the form to report the imagery that is appearing in results. In the form, include information like:
  • After you submit the request, teams will review it and reach out for any additional information they might need to verify it meets the requirements for removal
  • The team will notify the user once we’ve taken down the image, if it meets the requirements.

“We’re glad to see Google take this overdue step to give children and teens and their families more control over what images show up in search results,” said David Monahan, campaign manager at Fairplay, a child advocacy group. “We hope Google will go farther to reverse its collection of sensitive data and give families the ability to erase the digital footprint that Google and its partners maintain on every young person in the US.”

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