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.
Google has faced pressure to protect children and privacy
In 2019, allegations that Google’s YouTube subsidiary collected personal information from children without their parents’ knowledge or consent resulted in the company paying a $170 million settlement to state and federal regulators.
“Our children’s privacy law doesn’t allow companies to track kids across the internet and collect individual data on them without their parents’ consent,” then-FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra told NPR at the time. “And that’s exactly what YouTube did, and YouTube knew it was targeting children with some of these videos.”
When Google first announced the image-removal initiative in August, it also pledged to block ads that target people based on their age, gender or interests if they’re younger than 18. It also said its YouTube division would change the default privacy settings on video uploads to the tightest restrictions if they come from teens between 13 and 17 years old.
One of the biggest early adjustments for Google’s search tools stem from Europe, where a Spanish man’s case established the “right to be forgotten” in 2014. In the four years that followed, Google said, people made more than 650,000 requests to remove specific websites from its search results.
Editor’s note: Google and YouTube are among NPR’s financial sponsors.