Removing Non-Consensual Pornography (Revenge Porn) from the Web

One of the more devastating consequences of the web is the prevalence of non-consensual pornography, also known as revenge porn. It’s the occurrence of someone posting nude or explicit photos or videos of an individual without their consent. It’s a malicious and horrifying act that is, unfortunately, a common consequence of a bad breakup. An estimated 1 in 25 Americans have been victims of or been threatened with revenge porn and the problem continues to grow.

And although legislation is beginning to move in the right direction, it’s not enough.  Many websites are able to hide behind Section 230 which protects web platforms from liability regarding third-party content. Fortunately, many of the larger platforms, like Google, have stepped up to help mitigate the growing issue of revenge porn and aid victims in removing the content.

If you are the victim of revenge porn, we’ve outlined your options for removal below as well as cover additional options and resources here.

Get the Content Deindexed or Removed

Over the years, more options have opened up to remove revenge porn directly from a website or to have content deindexed from search results.

How to Deindex Non-consensual Pornography from Google

The following process is to remove the content from Google’s search results. Keep in mind that this only blocks the content from populating in results and does not remove it from the source website. Google provides additional information on the process here.

1. Ensure your situation fits Google’s criteria for deindexing:

  • “The imagery shows you (or the individual you’re representing) nude, in a sexual act or an intimate state And
  • You (or the individual you’re representing) didn’t consent to the imagery or the act and it was made publicly available OR You intended the content to be private and the imagery was made publicly available without your consent”

2. Complete the removal request form here. You will be required to supply the following:

  • Your full name
  • Country
  • Contact email address
  • URL for where the content is live, if applicable
  • A sample URL of Google search results where the image or video appears
  • Screenshots of the offending content, “which will help make sure we’re removing the correct results. We encourage you to use image-editing software to obscure the sexually explicit portions of the screenshots, but keep in mind the content needs to be identifiable to be removed. Important: Child sexual abuse imagery is illegal.  Do not take or include screenshots containing child sexual abuse imagery or any content that presents someone under 18 in a sexual manner.  Please see here for reporting child sexual abuse imagery.”

3. Confirm the information has been removed from search results.

Google takes these requests very seriously, so your request should be processed efficiently although they do not provide an exact timeline.

Remove Non-consensual Pornography from Popular Websites

Each website has its own process for removal but it typically involves either flagging the content directly on their platform or submitting a removal form specific to revenge porn. We’ve provided relevant links for each of the major platforms below

DMCA Takedowns

If a platform does not have procedures in place for revenge porn removal, you may be able to send a DMCA Takedown Request. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects copyrighted content. An estimated 80 percent of non-consensual pornography are selfies. This means the person who took the photo or video owns the content. If this fits your situation, you can try submitting a DMCA takedown request to the website. We’ve outlined your options for this in our removals guide.

Build a Positive Online Presence

We always recommend pairing removal with positive online reputation management.  This is for a few reasons:

  • Even if you are able to get the information removed or de-indexed, it does not prevent the content from repopulating on another website or the perpetrator from reposting the information.
  • There are many places on the web that do not have removal policies and hide behind Section 230.
  • Having a positive online presence helps to better safeguard your reputation from something negative or unwanted popping up down the road.

How to Do It

We offer a lot of free and in-depth resources for how to build a positive online presence, but it can be broken down into 3 easy steps:

  1. Build a number of positive websites and profiles that you control (Personal website, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc).
  2. Optimize your sites and profiles so that they rank in Google search results for your name
  3. Create ongoing content (social media engagement, blogging, etc) to keep your sites and profiles active so that they have the best chance of suppressing any unwanted search results and build a positive brand.

Our free DIY tool walks you step-by-step through this entire process. Get started with a free account here. Not sure where to start? Give us a call at 646-863-8226 to speak with one of our experts.