Google search has made a huge change for people being doxxed

Media-Twitter has spent the last few days in the throes of a provocative story The Washington Post who unmasked the owner of “Libs of TikTok”. This is the name of a controversial TikTok account that has become something of an online collection point for conservators.

Because of this, To send reporter Taylor Lorenz decided the Internet had to know the name of the person behind it. This led to one round after another of the online speech. In large part, about the fact that what Lorenz did amounted to doxx being the creator of Libs of TikTok.

So what does this have to do with the Google Search ad we were alluding to? Well, these events are not related, at least, not directly. But you can’t help but notice the timing of a new announcement from the search giant, which has decided to take advantage of this moment to let doxxing victims know the following.

Google is now promising to help them remove even more personally identifiable information from search results.

“Open access to information is a key Research goal, but so is providing people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive and personally identifiable information private,” reads a corporate blog post written by Michelle Chang, Google’s Global Policy Lead for Search. “That’s why we’re updating our policies to help people take greater control of their online presence in Search.”

For many years, Chang continues, people have been able to ask the search giant to remove some sensitive and personally identifiable information. Basically, make sure the information doesn’t show up in a Google search result.

Google claims this is to combat doxxing cases, for example. And when details like bank account or credit card numbers show up in search results. Such data, of course, can lead to financial fraud if it gets into the wrong hands.

“The Internet is constantly evolving”

Data on the computer screen
An illustration of the data on a computer screen. Image source: gonin / Adobe

Under the extended policy, users can Click here to request that additional types of information be removed from Google Search results. This includes details such as personal contact information along the lines of a telephone number, email address or home address.

Google’s extended policy also allows users to request the removal of additional information.

The extended policy includes data that could expose a person to potential identity theft if they show up online. Information in this category includes items such as login credentials that appear in search results.

The important word here, however, is required. It’s not the same as a general guarantee that Google will remove your data from search results. But at least it’s a start.

“On Google Search,” reads Chang’s blog post, “we already have a set of policies that allow people to request the removal of certain content from Search, with particular attention to highly personal content which, if public, can cause direct harm to people. But the Internet is constantly evolving, with information popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways, so our policies and protections must also evolve. “