Official Statement - Google Will Remove Nude Or Sexually Explicit Images Shared Without Consent From Google Search Results

Google announced today that it will allow people to remove revenge porn from its search results. This is great news and a welcome change in policy.

As a result of these changes, the entire landscape of nonconsensual distribution of intimate images has dramatically changed. One of the most damaging aspects of nonconsensual pornography was how it used to play out through online search engines. A hacker, Peeping Tom, or ex would upload the sexual imagery and overnight the images would go viral. A victim would wake up the next morning and find herself featured on hundreds of URLs inviting the public to watch and comment on her nude figure. This content was indexed, appeared on the first pages of Google search results, and defined her online presence. The harm was immediate, devastating and often irreversible.

As of today, Google puts a stake in the ground. Google does not tolerate nonconsensual porn. Like social security numbers and passport identification numbers, records of a person's private parts do not contribute to the marketplace of ideas. In fact, the use of these records to publicly humiliate victims has been used precisely to stifle speech, and predominantly that of women.

Google's actions provide victims with immediate relief. Victims can exhale knowing that when a prospective employer or colleague or family member searches their name, perhaps the first thing that will appear will be their accomplishments, their life's work, their ideas about the world, and not a fly-by-night explicit site exploiting their naked form.

We applaud these steps and look forward to their swift implementation.