Google installed a new policy Wednesday that will allow minors or their caregivers to request their images be removed from the company's search results, saying that "kids and teens have to navigate some unique challenges online, especially when a picture of them is unexpectedly available on the internet."
The policy follows up on Google's announcement in August that it would take a number of steps aiming to protect minors' privacy and their mental well-being, giving them more control over how they appear online.
You can fill out a form to ask that an image be removed
Google says the process for taking a minor's image out of its search results starts with filling out a form that asks for the URL of the target image. The form also asks for the URL of the Google search page used to find the image, and the search terms that were used. The company will then evaluate the removal request.
While the request could wind up scrubbing problematic images from Google's search tools, "It's important to note that removing an image from Google results doesn't remove it from the internet," the company said as it announced the policy.
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The changes come after Google and other tech companies have faced intense criticism for their policies toward children, who now live in the public eye more than any previous generation — facing the prospect of having any moment in their lives shared and preserved online, regardless of their own wishes.
The tool states that it is intended for cases in which the subject is under 18. Google says that if adults want material related to them to be removed, they should use a separate set of options.