Her Child’s Naked Dance Killed Her Google Account. New Appeals Path Restored It.


“We understand how upsetting it would be to lose access to your Google account, and the data stored in it, due to a mistaken circumstance,” Mr. Bryant said in a statement. “These cases are extraordinarily rare, but we are working on ways to improve the appeals process when people come to us with questions about their account or believe we made the wrong decision.”

Google did not tell the woman that the account was active again. Ten days after her account had been reinstated, she learned of the decision from a Times reporter.

When she logged in, she found that everything had been restored beyond the video her son had made. A message popped up on YouTube, featuring an illustration of a referee blowing a whistle and saying her content had violated community guidelines. “Because it’s the first time, this is just a warning,” the message said.

“I wish they had just started here in the first place,” she said. “It would have saved me months of tears.”

Jason Scott, a digital archivist who wrote a memorably profane blog post in 2009 warning people not to trust the cloud, said companies should be legally obligated to give users their data, even when an account was closed for rule violations.

“Data storage should be like tenant law,” Mr. Scott said. “You shouldn’t be able to hold someone’s data and not give it back.”

The mother also received an email from “The Google Team,” sent on Dec. 9.

“We understand that you attempted to appeal this several times, and apologize for the inconvenience this caused,” it said. “We hope you can understand we have strict policies to prevent our services from being used to share harmful or illegal content, especially egregious content like child sexual abuse material.”


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