A concerned mother wrote a letter to her local MP Stephen Barclay after she found that her son was downloading adult content from Google Play Store and that too through a section on the store which is known to sell children’s books.
According to reports on a couple of British newspapers including The Telegraph and the Daily Mail the unnamed mother got in touch with Google and also wrote a letter to Stephen Barclay stating that Google might not be bothered about the issue. She further wrote that parents might not be aware of the issue because of which they are not able to keep their children safe.
“I would like … to find a solution through government to put a stop to this situation and make Google more responsible,” wrote the parent in her letter to Barclay.
In his response Barclay wrote, “I am very concerned to discover this loophole in parental controls. My constituents want to do the right thing by taking responsibility for the way children use the internet.”
“It is worrying that Google has simply brushed off this gap in their controls.”
Google, according to its publisher content policies, explicitly requires publishers to curb unwarranted access to mature content by setting the preview pages to “0 percent viewable”.
However, when we did a simple search for a couple of books with mature content, we found that there were a multiple instances wherein a free sample was on offer for each of the books.
The concern here is that Google requires users to declare that they are over 13 in order to shop from its Play Store. Further, shoppers are able to see all types of content listings even when they are browsing through the catalogue of books.
“We regret that some inappropriate sexually graphic books made their way into Google Play. We have a strict policy to remove books that violate our guidelines and we are taking action to improve our processes”, a Google spokesperson told The Independent.