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Hate your Google search results? Now there’s a how-to guide for removing information

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan shows how past online activity can quickly be weaponized against individuals.

Hate your Google search results? Now there’s a how-to guide for removing information
[Photo: Edho Pratama]
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Recent events in Afghanistan have highlighted how detrimental people’s past online activity can quickly become. Afghans are scrambling to erase data about themselves from the internet that the Taliban may use to extract retribution. Thankfully, many tech giants are stepping up to protect Afghani users and help them hide or remove their data.

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Though not necessarily related to the tragic events in Afghanistan, Google has now posted a new help document that centralizes all the information a person needs to know if they want to remove web results about themselves from Google search. Google made the announcement in a tweet yesterday.

The central document explains how creators and site owners can quickly block Google search results to their site, permanently remove their site from Google search results, and re-index pages on their site to reflect new information to appear in Google search.

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There are additional tools that Google highlights for individuals. The central document now links to steps to take to stop old content about yourself that has been successfully erased from a website from appearing in Google search results. Also, there’s information about how you can get Google to remove search results for information about you that has not been removed from a website.

You can check out the full document here. It’s also worth sharing securely (only via end-to-end encrypted messaging apps) with any people you may know affected by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan whose past online activity could now be weaponized against them.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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