An unfavorable image of yourself showing up in a Google search can be humiliating at best, and at worst, a severe privacy threat.
Whether it’s an embarrassing pic from a work Christmas party or an image containing sensitive private information, the key to successful removal is acting fast.
How do I delete an image from a Google search?
The longer an image stays online, the harder it will be to get rid of. There are several steps you need to take, and quickly, to clear an image from a Google search.
For example, if the image has time to spread to publication on several websites, you will need to contact each website owner separately in order to have it removed.
1. Find all the sources where the image is published
The first thing you need to do is conduct several Google Searches using “Incognito Mode.” This feature will help ensure that your search history remains secure.
For each search, Google your name, and any information that could be related to the image. Make a list of every website where the image has been posted.
2. Contact the sites hosting the image
Usually, your best chance to get the image removed is to contact website owners directly and politely request that the image be taken down.
To find website contact information, look for details provided on the site itself. Also, you can search domain ownership using Whois.com. If you’re unable to reach the site owner in either case, you can always try to contact the site’s hosting company.
Although contacting site owners directly is the most effective way to get rid of a published image, it can be difficult. Webmasters might not be legally obligated to take down an image, so it can be common not to hear back from them at all.
3. Send an “Image Removal Request” to Google
If the published image in question presents a significant privacy risk, contact Google directly.
According to Google’s removal policies, they are committed to the removal of images in search results that fit any of the following criteria:
The image contains sensitive medical, financial, or national ID information
The image contains nonconsensual sexual or pornographic imagery
Whenever you find personal images, or other sensitive information, published online, DeleteMe privacy advisors can determine if we can remove it. We can also provide detailed instructions on how to remove it yourself, so you won’t ever feel helpless in these situations again.
How quickly can an image be removed from Google?
How fast an image is taken down online depends entirely on ownership.
If you request a site owner to take down an image, how long that takes is up to them. If you’ve requested a removal from Google, that usually gets processed within 24 hours. However, Google is not legally obligated to process a removal request within a specific timeframe.
Is removing an image from Google worth the effort?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the nature of the image. If it contains sensitive information about you, such as ID information or financial details, it’s crucial to remove it as soon as possible to prevent spam messages, scam attempts, or even identity theft.
For an image to be a privacy threat, it doesn’t need to be obvious, like a picture of a passport or login details. A simple family photo can expose more information than you realize.
For example, metadata from a photo published online can show the time the photo was taken, and its location. This is already too much information if, for example, someone is stalking you.
How do I keep my personal information safe for good?
While it is frustrating for your images to be shared online without your consent, luckily there are ways you can try to remove them. But, even if you scrub those images from any Google search results, that alone is not enough to fully protect your online privacy.
The truth is, an alarming amount of your information can be found online.
Even if you’ve never shared anything, personal information like your name, phone number, current or previous addresses, names of relatives, property values, or marital statuses, can all be found online and exploited, and threaten your privacy and security. To make sure your personal information stays safe, learn more ways to protect your privacy, or let DeleteMe help you by signing up for our service today.
Will Simonds runs Senior Marketing Operations at DeleteMe, and is a steadfast privacy advocate who has a resolute dedication to online privacy solutions and helping people regain their privacy.
Since joining DeleteMe in 2015, Will has worked in a number of different roles.
From launching the DeleteMe affiliate program, creating and maintaining hundreds of opt-out guides, fine-tuning DeleteMe’s customer communications and improving website conversion efficiency, Will lives and breathes DeleteMe.
Will earned his BBA from Endicott College.