Google has intensified efforts against revenge porn, by allowing users to delete images from its search engine, the tech giant said.
A formal process will allow victims to put in a request for the removal of revenge porn images through a web form, Google will launch in the next couple of weeks.
TROUBLING STORIES OF REVENGE PORN
On its public policy blog, Google said that the company has heard many troubling stories of revenge porn, from ex-partners to hackers publicly humiliating victims by stealing and distributing private images.
“Some images even end up on “sextortion” sites that force people to pay to have their images removed,” the company’s Vice President, Amit Singhal, explained.
Revenge porn exploits extremely personal and emotionally damaging images only to degrade victims- women in particular- according to Google. Commenting on the policy change, a revenge porn victim said: “This news is life-changing.”
In a move to censor unauthorized nude photos, Google specified that although it cannot remove images from the websites, it would remove them from Google search results in order to make revenge porn more difficult to find.
THE ORIGINS OF REVENGE PORN
The trend of revenge porn started back in the 1980s as Hustler magazine featured photographs of naked women. Several women later sued the magazine as many images were published without their permission and knowledge.
Two decades later, Italian researcher Sergio Messina coined the term “realcore pornography,” to describe a form of ‘homemade’ underground porn. Studies revealed that most of the images and videos initially shared through Usenet groups were of ex-girlfriends.
In 2008, amateur porn aggregator XTube, began receiving complaints that pornographic content had been posted without subjects’ consent. The real turning point, however, occurred when Hunter Moore launched the website “Is Anyone Up” in 2010, featuring user-submitted pornography, which included personal information, often without the subject’s consent. The website shut down in 2012.
REACTIONS TO REVENGE PORN
Revenge porn laws already exist in some US states, the UK, Germany, and Israel. Popular sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and the social forum Reddit, have embraced policies banning offensive content from being posted without the subject’s permission.
The End Revenge Porn campaign organized by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative provides support and advocacy for victims of revenge porn, non-consensual pornography and ‘cyber rape’.