In the digital age, embarrassing and unwise photographs may never go away, says Rick Maybury. - www.telegraph.co.uk - 11th November 2013
A potentially damaging photo of my 16-year old son has been uploaded to the web via YouTube account. A ‘friend’ thoughtfully did this for a laugh, having presumably having got hold of his password. The image was very soon on Google where it remains. Although he has tried, his attempts to remove it have all been in vain. Can you explain the correct procedure to follow and once our request is made, how long we should expect to wait for the image to be deleted?
V K, by email
Google Search and Images trawls the web, looking for photos, which it catalogues and displays on its pages. Once the original image has been removed from YouTube references to it will eventually disappear, though this can take a couple of weeks, possibly longer.
However, if it also appears on other websites you should contact whoever is responsible and ask them to remove it, but again, even if they comply it still takes a while for Google to update its databases. If you have legal, copyright or other compelling concerns there are steps that you can take to speed up the removal process and there is a helpful video and links to various tools here.
You should also check the other major search engines and their support pages for advice on how to remove links and photos. This should be a timely reminder to parents, to warn their offspring to protect their passwords and PINs, and that in the digital age, embarrassing and unwise photographs may never go away!