Google Takes An Important Step in Combatting Sextortion

By July 1, 2015 July 17th, 2015 No Comments

Recently, Thorn Tech Task Force member Google announced plans to remove “revenge porn” and images being used for sextortion from search results, following the trend of platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. Users will be able to submit a removal request for explicit photos shared without their consent.

In a blog post announcing the removal of “revenge porn” from search results, Google acknowledged that this is a small step in a larger fight to combat the issue:

“We know this won’t solve the problem of revenge porn—we aren’t able, of course, to remove these images from the websites themselves—but we hope that honoring people’s requests to remove such imagery from our search results can help.”

At Thorn, we are hopeful that additional interventions are on the horizon as we see Tech Task Force members continue to step up to the plate and play an important role in collaborating to create new solutions to fight child sexual exploitation.

This is an important step protecting sextortion victims.

Sextortion is a growing problem, with multiple online platforms being used to facilitate this crime. We are glad to see technology companies taking steps to protect victims of sextortion, and we want to help them with their efforts. That is why Thorn has partnered with the Crimes Against Children Research Center to conduct research to better understand how technology is being used to extort sexual images from victims. This research will help the technology industry continue to develop high impact strategies and interventions to combat this crime.

What’s next?

One part of our research is an anonymous online survey of persons who have been targets of sextortion. We want to learn more from victims themselves about how some people are misusing technology to extort or blackmail others by threatening to expose sexual images. If this has happened to you or someone you know, please help by taking this survey or sharing the link. You must be between 18-25 to participate.

We are proud to partner with technology companies like Google, which are taking steps to protect victims of sextortion. Together, we hope to find ways to stop these crimes, catch offenders and help the people they target.

Stay up to date—get the latest on our work and important news in the fight against child sexual exploitation.