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New Google Tool Lets Users Track And Delete Search Results About Themselves


Updated Aug 3, 2023, 05:21pm EDT

Topline

Google launched new privacy tools to help users track and delete search results about themselves like untrue information, unwanted contact details, or copyright violations, a move to assuage users’ concerns about privacy.

Key Facts

Google’s new tool will gather search results about users in a personal dashboard, so users can keep track, get notified when new information pops up on search and request that results be removed.

The company said the process of deleting personal information is now more straightforward for eligible instances such as untrue information, unwanted contact details such as an address or phone number, or copyright violations.

For other instances of inaccurate or offensive content, users can submit a request for Google to remove content from the search results.

Additionally, Google has also announced today it will introduce a new tool for parents to blur explicit images from their children’s search results.

Contra

The new tool, which is only available in the U.S. and in English for now, doesn’t actually delete the information from the internet— it just stops it from showing up in search results. Google suggested users contact the specific website that has posted unwanted information about themselves to request it be removed.

Key Background

Americans have become increasingly concerned about what big tech platforms do with their private information. Over 80% of Americans said the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits they get from signing up on different platforms, a 2019 Pew Research study found. Concerns about specific platforms have only grown in recent years: By May 2023, the majority of Americans saw TikTok—owned by China-based ByteDance—as a threat to national security in the U.S., a recent Pew study found. TikTok spied on the location of a Forbes journalist last October and Forbes has since exclusively reported that some American TokTok creators’ user data was stored in China, contrary to what CEO Shou Zi Chew swore under oath in the U.S. Congress.

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