Google Docs are inexplicably locking people out for TOS violations

If you’re having trouble with your Google Docs, you’re not the only one. Many people are taking to Twitter to say they’ve been locked out of their account due to a violation of the company’s terms of service. The contents of the documents have been “flagged,” according to the error message people have received.

While it is true that Google Docs does have a TOS that prohibits hate speech, harassment, violence, and other content, the company has never (as far as I know) extended its purview to the contents of private documents. People currently think that this may be an internal glitch, not some new content policing system.

I reached out to Google for comment, and a spokesperson gave me this statement: “We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Docs. We will provide more information when appropriate.”

Until then, you should probably stay out of Google Docs for the time being.

Update: A Google spokesperson provided Fast Company with this updated statement:

This morning, we made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs. Protecting users from viruses, malware, and other abusive content is central to user safety. We apologize for the disruption and will put processes in place to prevent this from happening again.


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