Google now lets users ask for images of minors to be removed from Search

Minors, their parents, or other representatives can submit requests.

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Steve Dent
October 27, 2021 7:06 AM
Google closeup logo displayed on a phone screen, smartphone on a keyboard is seen in this multiple exposure illustration, the company's symbol is globally recognized. Google, LLC is an American tech giant, a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies in the U.S. . Amsterdam, the Netherlands on October 22, 2020 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google has activated a safety feature that lets minors under 18 request that images of themselves be removed from search results, The Verge has reported. Google first announced the option back in August as part of a slate of new safety measures for kids, but it's now rolling out widely to users. 

Google said it will remove any images of minors "with the exception of case of compelling public interest or newsworthiness." The requests can be made by minors, their parents, guardians or other legal representatives. 

To do so, you'll need to supply the URLs you want removed, the name and age of the minor and the name of the person acting on their behalf. Google notes that "web URLs (pages with both text and images) are not eligible for removal under this policy, which seeks to limit the presence of images in Google search results." 

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To that end, it also can't remove images from websites hosting them, so "you might wish to contact the site’s webmaster and ask them to remove the content," Google said. To aid in that, it linked a guide on how to contact a site's webmaster. 

Until Google starts to actively remove images, we won't see what criteria it applies for "public interest or newsworthiness." In general, though, it seems like most images will likely get pulled if a minor or their guardian asks. However, it doesn't appear that you'll be able to demand the removal of images of yourself below 18 unless you're currently under that age, as The Verge has noted. 

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Google now lets users ask for images of minors to be removed from Search