Google has history of failing to remove revenge porn: lawye…


Google, which successfully blocked a bill that would criminalize revenge porn in New York, has a long history of promising to remove nonconsensual, sexual images — and then failing to do so, attorneys who work with victims charge.

“For over two years, I’ve been fighting with them to remove content for a client who was raped during the creation of a pornography,” Carrie Goldberg, who’s represented hundreds of revenge porn victims, told The Post.

“We sent them affidavits and filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of several other women against the porn company. Yet to date Google still has refused to remove that content.”

Goldberg called Google “unequivocally the number one cause of damage to victims of revenge porn” because it’s where nude images and sex videos are found in the first place.

“It’s why victims report not getting jobs, apartments, dates,” Goldberg said. “Their names are typed into Google and naked images populate the first several pages.”

While Google does have a form that victims can fill out if they believe an image should be removed, Goldberg called the methods “ineffective and arbitrary.”

“Many, many of my clients have submitted the forms and they’ve been ignored or denied. In some cases, Google has refused to remove the content — including rape videos — because they claim it looks like commercial porn. In one case where a young woman was horribly exploited and Google refused to remove the image because they said it looked like commercial porn, we actually purchased the copyright from the abuser. Yet Google still will not remove the content,” Goldberg said.

“That client and everybody in her family had to change their name.”

On Google’s support page, they detail the process users must take to have their images removed from Google search results, including provisions the content was intended to be private and imagery was made available without consent.

They state it’s at their discretion, meaning there’s no guarantee images will be taken down.

“Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful means that we very rarely remove links from search results,” the support page states.

“However, we may remove links to pages that show nude or sexually explicit images or videos of you without your consent.”

Google has acknowledged they write their own search algorithms, which means they can change what comes up in a search result and what doesn’t.

“Search engine algorithms are business decisions, not naturally occurring phenomenon,” Goldberg railed.

Famed women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented Black Chyna in her revenge porn case against Rob Kardashian and is also the daughter of Gloria Allred, said nude images appearing in search results and across the web is “devastating” for her clients.

“Teenage girls are killing themselves because of revenge porn,” Bloom said.

“Google pretends to be a supporter of women’s rights, well it’s time for them to step up and stop blocking a bill that would protect young women and other victims.”

Bloom said it’s a “long, cumbersome process” to ask Google to remove images from search results and, “sometimes they’ll do it, sometimes not.”

“Google is taking the position, ‘We’re just not gonna do a damn thing, we can’t be bothered to help.’ I think everyone should be aware that’s the position they’re taking.”

Google insists it’s working to eliminate revenge porn.

“We agree that revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging. We take the issue seriously and have policies to address it across Google,” a company rep said Thursday.

“In 2015, we became the first major search index to announce we would remove links to websites that host sexually explicit images shared without consent from Google Search results. We prohibit sexually explicit images shared without consent and provide reporting options for users to request removal of it across Google.”

But Bloom and Goldberg said search results are only part of the problem– even if it’s removed from search results, the content is still online, and web hosts can manipulate the URLs to make sure the image is still driving traffic.

“We also represent a number of models and celebrities where it’s a game of whack-a-mole to get the images down,” Goldberg said.

“We get it removed from Google searches and then the webmaster changes a couple characters in the URL and it comes up in search terms again.”

Additionally, once the image is posted, it’s often reposted to various other sites, requiring victims, or their lawyers if they can afford one, to go after each and every site and beg them to take it down. In many cases, women have to end up sending their nude images to the U.S. Copyright Office to have their body parts copyrighted so they can force the image to be removed under the grounds of copyright infringement.

The bill that died in the New York State Senate on Tuesday night included language that would allow courts to petition websites to remove the images. Lawmakers had even amended it to appease internet companies like Google, but it wasn’t enough, Dorchen Leidholt, the Director of the Legal Center at Sanctuaries for Families, said.

“There was an agreement with the Senate and the Assembly and we had a version that both sides seemed to support and then to have Google come in at the eleventh hour and essentially destroy the bill and the compromise because it opposed judges preventing internet providers from continuing to publish abusive, humiliating images of a victim makes no sense whatsoever and was extraordinarily destructive on Google’s part,” Leidholt said.

“The magnitude of the harm is off the charts. Victims end up being severely traumatized often times with such deep feelings of shame and humiliation that they want to disappear and you know you can’t just move to another part of the country to get away from these images because they’re online, they follow you everywhere so some of our clients have been suicidal as a result… by blocking this bill, Google has enabled abusers in New York State to continue this form of abuse.”

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