Google
Google will shield revenge porn from searches if victims request it.Reuters

At long last Google is finally stepping up to help victims of revenge porn whose nude photos or videos have been posted online against their will. The company is offering to shield the images from search results — if victims request it.

Google announced the new strategy in a blog post Friday. Revenge porn — posting private, explicit photos of ex-partners on the Internet for all to see, usually images of women by their male ex-partners, has become a burgeoning problem.

But now Google will offer a form online that victims can use to request that the images don't show up in searches, reports Time.

"Our philosophy has always been that searches should reflect the whole web," senior vice president for search Amit Singhal wrote in a Google blog post. "But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims— predominantly women."

Google cautioned the action will be "narrow and limited." Well-known revenge porn sites will not be blocked from Google search results, just individual images.

Reddit updated its revenge porn policy in February, and Twitter and Facebook banned it in March.

Victims and their supporters hailed the Google decision, though some complained that revenge porn posters should also be subject to criminal charges, notes CNN Money.

"I applaud Google's new policy, but there is still a gaping hole in the law that leaves victims with little or no legal recourse," said Democratic California Congresswoman Jackie Speier. "We already punish the unauthorised disclosure of private information like medical records and financial identifiers. Why should personal images of one's naked body, given in confidence, be any different?"