Why Your Online Presence Matters
When meeting someone new, one of the first things that people do is Google them. Whether you are a high school student applying to colleges, a college student applying for jobs, a professional applying for career opportunities or a single person on a dating app, you are likely to be subject to an internet search. Maintaining positive search results for your name or business is a necessity and will affect your future.
Unfortunately, people tend to believe what they read on the internet, even if it is false or inaccurate. Negative content also has a tendency to be shared or scraped to other websites and can even go viral. The more content spreads, the harder and more time consuming it is to remove. Negative search results must be removed as quickly as possible.
How we can help:
KJK is Experienced in Content Removal and Internet-Related Issues
At KJK, we remove damaging content from the internet and have experience tackling a wide variety of internet-related issues.
We regularly negotiate with and remove content from search engines, social media sites, news platforms, blogs, forums, directory sites, shaming sites, pornographic websites and more.
If there is distressing content about you or your business on the internet, we can help you evaluate your content removal options.
types of online content we have removed:
- Fake Reviews
- News Articles
- Threats and Harassment
- Personal and Private Information
- Revenge Porn
- Copyrighted Content
- Hate Speech
- Impersonation Accounts
- Defamatory Content
Important to Know:
How Will an Attorney Help Remove Content from the Internet?
The internet is an ever-evolving platform with a litany of content-related issues. As a result, it is important to work with an experienced internet attorney who can counsel you in choosing the best removal strategy for your unique situation. An experienced internet attorney will use a variety of tactics which typically include a combination of one or more of the following methods:
Reach out to the original poster and ask them to remove the content
Perhaps the most obvious way to remove content is to ask the person who published the content to remove it. This could look like a diplomatic reach out, an editorial inquiry or a cease and desist letter. The success of this method is largely dependent on the facts of your particular situation.
Reach out to the site admin and ask them to remove it
Another option for content removal is to reach out to the administrator of a website and ask them to remove the content. A site administrator maintains editorial control over the content published on their site and can choose to keep something published or delete it. Typically, a site administrator will not remove content without a compelling reason.
This method typically works best with news publications if the article is outdated, or if crimes reported on have been dismissed or expunged, but can also work for removing content from other websites.
Reach out to the site admin and offer to pay their processing fee
Some websites will remove offensive or negative content if you pay them a processing fee. Sites that accept processing fees in exchange for removal typically include cheating and shaming sites. While it can feel unpleasant to pay to remove content, this is often easier and more cost effective than filing a lawsuit.
Report the content to the website for a community guideline violation
User Generated Content websites and forums typically have set guidelines for content that they will allow on their sites. Content that does not follow a site’s listed guidelines can be removed.
Reach out to Google and ask them to remove the content from search results
While Google can be strict about removing content from search results, it has zero tolerance policies for certain types of content, like spam and revenge porn. This method can be extremely helpful in removing harmful content from being searched by casual internet users. However, Google does not have the ability to remove the infringing content from the actual website.
Send a copyright request (attain copyright and send request)
Certain types of content, like images, can be removed if you own the copyright to the content. An attorney can help you negotiate for purchase of the copyright and submit takedown requests to remove the content.
Ask the website to add a no-index tag to the URL of the content you want removed
If a website does not want to remove content from the underlying website, they still have the ability to remove the content from search engine indexing. Content that has been deindexed will only show up if an internet user already has the URL to the content saved or if they search the website for the content. This can be an effective tool if a website has declined to remove content, but is still willing to offer relief.
File a lawsuit and get a court order
Content can also be removed pursuant to a court order. You can only get a court order by filing a lawsuit. An attorney can help you determine if you have legal claims to obtain a court order mandating that content be removed.
Important to know:
Content Removal Frequently
What do I do if I don’t know who published my content?
KJK has a range of investigative tools to assist victims in potentially identifying their perpetrators. While a victim will need to eventually identify their attacker to collect damages, they will not necessarily need to identify their attacker to remove the harmful content from the internet.
Do I have to file a lawsuit to get content removed?
You do not need a court order to remove content from the internet. There are numerous other ways to remove content. For example, content that violates the community guidelines of a website can often be removed by reaching out to the website administrator.
On the Rise:
Revenge porn is not something the average person thinks about on a daily basis. But the reality is, with our increased reliance on smart phones and cloud-based storage systems, revenge porn is on the rise. A recent study by the American Psychological Association involving 3,044 adults found that 1 in 12 people had been victims of nonconsensual pornography. Because of the distressing and taboo nature of this topic and overall lack of larger research studies, we have reason to believe that these numbers are much higher.
Sextortion: Revenge Porn Blackmail
Sextortion occurs when a person (sextortionist) exploits another person by threatening to publish their intimate photos in exchange for something: typically money, more nude images or sexual acts. Simply put, sextortion is blackmail related to intimate content. Sextortion is a type of revenge porn.
Regardless of the circumstances, sextortion is a serious crime that can devastate your life and your future. Once revenge porn is published, it can spread rapidly and find a permanent home on the internet, causing insurmountable damage to a victim’s reputation by taking over their search results.
Generally, sextortion takes two forms:
Webcam sextortion occurs when a person’s webcam is hacked and they are recorded in compromising positions without their knowledge or consent. The sextortionist then requests money and threatens to release the recording if the victim does not supply payment easily. This form of webcam blackmail has increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Intimate Partner Sextortion
Sextortion can also occur as a means of control by a former or current partner, whereby a partner threatens to release nude photographs of the victim to the internet if the victim doesn’t carry out acts dictated by the threatening party.
Important to Consider:
What Should I do if I am a Victim of Revenge Porn?
Revenge porn and other salacious online content has a tendency to spread quickly. Waiting too long to tackle content can and likely will result in a bigger problem. Additionally, websites and Internet Service Providers typically only retain user data and IP addresses for limited periods of time. If you wait too long to act, you will likely lose the opportunity to identify your attacker.
Do not Fall Prey to your Attacker’s Demands
If you are a victim of sextortion, it is essential that you act immediately and do not capitulate to a sextortionist’s demands. Sending money to a sextortionist is unlikely to stop the threats and will likely result in more stalking and harassment. Fortunately, an attorney can help victims stop attackers and seek recourse.
Take Steps to Preserve Communications
While it may be tempting to delete aggressive communications and threats from a sextortionist, it is important that you take immediate action to screenshot and preserve all threats so that an attorney can assist you in tracking down your attacker and the content.
Important to know:
Revenge Porn Frequently
Is revenge porn a crime?
There are civil and criminal causes of action for revenge porn depending on your state. A revenge porn attorney can help you navigate the laws in your state and assist in quickly removing content. Here is a helpful 50-state guide to revenge porn laws: https://www.cybercivilrights.org/revenge-porn-laws/.
I was underage in my photos. Are there any resources that can help me?
We work with investigating agencies like the FBI and NCMEC to assist victims in identifying their attackers and removing abusive content from the internet. If you were underage in a photo or video, even if you took the photo or video of yourself, you have additional options and resources for content removal.
I emailed a website to remove my photos, but they didn’t respond. How can you get a different result?
Websites administrators and hosting providers can be difficult to deal with and may have multiple contact points that are not readily publicized. KJK’s investigative researchers have been successful in finding alternative contact points to reach out to websites and request removal of content. Additionally, KJK may have other tools, like legal notices, that can assist in obtaining removal.