Google have made the process of removing images of minors from search more straightforward with the release of a new policy and a dedicated tool to do it.
On October 27th, Google’s Public Liaison for Search, Danny Sullivan announced new ways in which young people and their families can gain more control over their images by following a few simple steps, in a recent blog post; Giving kids and teens more control over their images in Search.
The new tool and policy applies to both images and web search and is likely to be a welcome feature for those under the age of 18 and their parents or guardians who Google acknowledge have to navigate a range of unique challenges online, such as when an image of them unexpectedly becomes available on the internet.
For reputation management companies, this may also prove to be a welcome move with faster ways to remove content from Google Search.
Google had this to say about their latest move aimed at giving back control to those who want their images removed from Search results quickly and more easily than before:
With a newly implemented policy, anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, can now request the removal of their images from Search results, following a few simple steps.
This means these images won't appear in the Images tab or as thumbnails in any feature in Google Search.
For anyone with questions around who may be able to request this, such as the minor themselves, parents or guardians and the circumstances around when such a request should or could be made, Google have published an in-depth help document, which can be found here.
The support document states that Google will remove images of anyone below the age of 18 from their Search results at the request of the person themselves or their parent or guardian, however Google also notes the exception that, in certain cases of newsworthiness or compelling public interest then it is likely the images will remain available.
For those who do successfully request that their images are removed, they will no longer appear in the Google Images tab or in the form of thumbnails across any other feature of Search. However, it is important to note that any images removed from Google Search results cannot be removed by Google from the website on which they are hosted.
The form used to request the removal of an image can be found via this link, once a request is submitted, the following steps take place:
- An automated email is sent, to confirm the request has been received
- Google then reviews the request and evaluates each one based on the requirements and circumstances
- In some cases, more information may be required and Google may ask for additional information or greater detail. If a URL is missing for example, then specific instructions will be shared on how to do this before resubmission
- The individual will then receive notification of any actions Google has taken. If found to be within the scope of Google’s policies, the images will immediately be removed from Search results. If not however, then Google will include a brief explanation around why the request has been denied.
Individuals can however resubmit a request if other materials become available to support the case.