Let’s say you’re browsing the Internet, looking at pictures of cats (or of whatever else keeps you entertained). Suddenly…huh…that…doesn’t look right. Is that legal? Something’s definitely off about that image, and you’re pretty sure the website you just accessed thanked you for your patronage by immediately attempting to install malware on your system. The worst part was, you found all of this through Google- a search engine which is supposed to be safe and secure. What’s a netizen to do?
You-or your system- has already been corrupted by the experience, so all you can do for yourself is perform some damage control. However, you can take steps to ensure that others don’t run into the same troubles as you- you can take steps to inform Google that their search engine is leading some of their customers down a dark, dangerous path.
The process is actually fairly simple- though nowhere near as simple as it should be. You’d think you could just click a link near the content that says “report this content as offensive,” right? Yeah, not so much.
First off, collect as much information as you can about the website and the content in question. Is it hosted on a site that takes user submissions? What sort of media is it? How does it violate Google’s TOS? Is it an illegal image? A spam message? Malware? Once you’ve gathered all the hard details, the next step is to report the content itself.
Once you’ve nailed down what type of content you’re reporting- spam, malware, copyright infringement, paid ads, illegal content- it’s as simple as going through the motions and filling out the attached forms. Do note that in some cases, you’re going to need a Google account to complete the report. That’s all there is to it- happy browsing, and stay safe online!
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