Google Introduces Tool to Help Minors Delete Photos from Search

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The tech giant Google undertakes an initiative to help delete photos of minors from the internet. Google announced that it has a tool that allows the parents and children under 18-years-old to request pictures be removed from its images tab and as thumbnails in searches.

Earlier, the photos could be released upon the request from individuals if the images were in specific categories, such as “non-consensual explicit.” But now Google is extending the types to include minors, and the company said their teams would review each request for image removal and take action if the submissions do satisfy the conditions.

According to a statement from Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison, while google is already providing numerous methods for people looking forward to removing content from Search, Google understands that the kids and teens have to find out some unique challenges online, especially when a picture of them is unexpectedly available on the internet. Their new tool will be helpful for minors to remove this obstacle.

What is the process behind the new tool for removing the pictures?

To qualify for removal under the new tool, Google has put forward some requirements to be met by the photo in question to be completed. This includes the picture must be an image URL. (They won’t take down web URLs with text and images under this new policy, but it could qualify for other reasons.) 

There must be an ‘identifiable’ picture of the minor in question, who currently has to be under 18. Google also announced that they would consider photographs of children who died before turning 18. A child, teenager, or a parent/guardian can request for a picture to be removed. Individuals can submit the request for removal on Google’s support site, and then team members will review the request.

If adequate information is not provided, the team members will reach out to the individuals seeking more information. If your picture or content is taken down or when they will be taken down will be announced to you.

And if the request submitted by a person is approved, those images do not appear in the tab designated for images or as thumbnails in any feature in Google Search. This is how the new tool will supposedly function as per the statements given by Google.

What does this mean to children?

To provide more child safety measures amid the criticism from experts and lawmakers about how various online platforms impact young users, the tech giants are finally coming out with initiatives to help minors and teens.

Earlier this week, an executive from Google-owned YouTube, leaders from Snapchat and TikTok were under severe criticism from the Senators about the steps these platforms are taking to protect their young users.

Experts welcomed Google’s latest move to give minors more control over images. Some suggested that this initiative which offers the removal of images, could also cut down on cyber-bullying or prevent any harmful information or photos from being published online.

According to David Monahan, a campaign manager at Fairplay, one of the child advocacy groups, they are glad that Google took this overdue step will give children, teens, and their family members more control over what images appear in search results.

And that they hope that 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.

As per the words of Alexandra Hamlet, a clinical psychologist by profession and someone who works with teenagers, Google’s request process could help parents talk more openly with their kids about managing their online presence.

That could include discussing what’s worth consideration for removal, such as a photo that could harm their future reputation versus one where they perceive to look less than perfect. This new tool could offer a lot.

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James Thomas
James Thomas
James Thomas, Postgraduate in Journalism and Mass Communication. Football fan, absolutely in love with movies and series. Learning a bit about Politics, the need for equality, and am a firm believer in respecting the personal space and opinions of others.

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