Google Docs Mistakenly Flags Content as Abusive and Leaves Users Puzzled

Google Docs blank document

Google locked a few users out of their Google Docs files for no real reason

If you thought Google Docs was a safe place to keep your documents, think again. A number of users have recently reported being locked out of their online files, and informed they had been violating the company’s Terms and Conditions. The real reason seems to be the content of these documents, which Google found inappropriate. Such an issue poses some real security concerns, meaning that your files are not as safe as you thought they were.

Google Docs randomly flags content as abusive

Google has some strict policies when it comes to the content one can share or add into Google Docs. This means the company is seriously against any kind of content protected by copyright, or which might contain pornography, child abuse, hate speech, threats, overly graphic or confidential information.

However, those users who got their files locked away were still puzzled, since their documents didn’t contain any of the violating content presented above. For instance, one of the victims was Rachael Bale, a reported for National Geographic, who had just lost a Google Docs file about wildlife crime.

This raises some real questions about the security of one’s work

An official from Google quickly intervened, and said the incident must have merely been an error. This happened as they were working on a new code, and a series of harmless documents were faultily flagged as inappropriate. However, the fix should come soon, and these users will be able to recover their files.

This incident raises many questions regarding the security of Google Docs files. The fact that users risk losing important work before they have time to edit the content and remove any policy-infringing references, such as copyrighted material, is a huge glitch. This might risk Google a lot of users, as many journalists are now skeptical, and don’t want to see their work put in danger.


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Christopher Hall completed his studies at the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, with a degree in Engineering and Applied Science. That was three years ago. At present he is working as a Computation and Neural Systems engineer in Ontario. He used to write tech reviews and overviews for several small online publications before he joined the ArgyllFreePress team. Christopher is always scouring the internet for fresh tech news and anything related to gadgets, smart-phones, tablets and laptops.