2014 Dirty Dozen List: Google

Google on the 2014 Dirty Dozen List


After much work by Morality In Media, PornHarms.com and our coalition partners, Google has taken some major positive steps to protect children and reduce sexual exploitation.

The company announced a policy change to prohibit pornographic ads and ads directly linking to sexually explicit websites. We are so grateful because this has been one of our top priorities with Google. We raised this specific matter with Google officials in a meeting with them in May.

Another priority of ours was to get Google to stop offering sexually explicit apps in Google Play. Thankfully, Google recently announced an end to such offerings as well.

We are grateful that they are realizing that their profits from porn are not worth the devastation to children and families.

We applaud Google for these important strides forward, but continue to call on them to improve their policies and actions, especially on Google Search, Google Images, YouTube and Safe Search. We will keep working for YOU!

News of their AdWords policy change (and our involvement in this) here.

Why is Google on the Dirty Dozen List?

Google is a dominant force in technology. More than 1.1 billion people use Google search each month. Google’s Android operating system is on 79% of smartphones and Google’s digital advertising revenue was $38.6 billion in 2013. With all of this, it is strange to think that Google is in the business of pornography. Although their policies somewhat prohibit pornography and/or sexually explicit content on most of their products, both forms of content can be found throughout Google YouTube, Google Play, Google AdWords, Google Images and Google Search.

Help us push Google to strengthen their efforts to protect children throughout their sites.

The Problems

  • As an Internet Service Provider
    Currently, Google forces the user to manually opt-out of porn if they do not wish to be exposed to such content. However, Google has the ability to allow users to opt-in if they wish to see this. Efforts in the UK and Canada with Internet Service Providers are seeking to make porn-access an opt-in feature, rather than the default setting. GOOGLE could easily do the same. For more information on this see here.
  • YouTube
    Google’s YouTube is a public video sharing website that is filled with pornography despite the company’s policy that prohibits users from posting “pornography or sexually explicit content.” YouTube does little to enforce their policy and they require that users flag offensive and sexually explicit content, but this is not enough. Additionally, you are able to turn on Safe Search in order to potentially avoid pornography, but notwithstanding all of this there are far too many ways to break the rules.
  • GooglePlay (App Store)
    GooglePlay is an online store that can be found on Android smartphones and any computers. Surprisingly, pornography can be purchased in GooglePlay by people of all ages, including children. In the last year (after appearing on the 2013 Dirty Dozen List) Google improved their policy for adding sexually explicit apps to GooglePlay. However, they aren’t doing enough to enforce the policy when they approve apps for the store. In addition, apps with sexual content should be moved into a separate category so children (and adults who do not wish to be exposed) will not have to see them. Apple’s iTunes has a zero tolerance policy for sexually explicit apps and is quick to remove such apps. GooglePlay should follow suit. Learn more here.
  • AdWords
    Google AdWords is a very profitable wing of Google that provides online advertising to companies and individuals. Google AdWords prohibits the promotion of pornography where sexual organs are shown, but we have found that this rule is not often followed and Google frequently approves pornographic ads. Furthermore, the policy should be that Google does not promote pornography in any way. Learn more here.

We applaud Google for maintaining their policies, but we encourage them to better monitor their sites for sexually explicit videos, games, movies, ads, etc. and enhance their efforts by tightening some of their current rules.

Take Action Now

  • THANK GOOGLE for ridding Google Play of porn and for stopping porn ads in AdWords. Sign the thank you card here.
  • Send a message to Google Executives

  • Sign this Petition to Leaders: Make porn an Opt-in policy!

  • Share Your Story

    What are your experiences with Google? What have you (or those close to you) been exposed to? All stories will be shared anonymously. Click to here to submit.

  • Distribute this handout to your friends and family and ask them to get involved.


  • Monitor your children’s use of the Internet. Regularly have conversations with them about possible content they might encounter and about Internet safety;
  • Make sure your friends and family are aware of the dangers and safety features available for the Internet. Encourage their involvement in these efforts.

Tools to Protect!

  • Use Filters! Here is a list.
  • Turn on Safe Search for Google Search and Google Images. This will not block out everything, but is better than nothing. Here’s a tutorial.
  • Turn on the Safety Mode in YouTube. It is at the very bottom of the page. This is very far from perfect, but definitely better than nothing.

The Laws

Federal obscenity laws, which the U.S. Department of Justice refuses to currently enforce, prohibit distribution of hardcore, obscene pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite or hotel/motel TV and in sexually oriented businesses and other retail shops. (Learn more)

  • 18 U.S.C. 1462 Importation or use of a common carrier to transport obscene matter
  • 18 U.S.C. 1465 Interstate transportation of obscene matter

Sections 1462 and 1465 cited above also prohibit distribution of obscenity on the Internet.

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