Some Google Docs users found themselves locked out of their documents on Tuesday after the company flagged harmless files as “inappropriate.”
Those locked out of their documents included reporters collaborating on articles, a document on academic software engineering, a study guide, and a user working on a pathology lab report.
“This message has been flagged as inappropriate and can no longer be shared,” reads a message some users received.
In a statement, Google said the lockouts were temporary and the result of a technical issue.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said.
“We apologize for the disruption and will put processes in place to prevent this from happening again,” the statement added.
The Google Docs locking error appears fairly widespread — the product’s Twitter feed is filled with responses to concerned users wanting access to their documents.
According to Google’s abuse policies, people can report individual documents for violating the terms of service. Prohibited content includes malware, violence, hate speech, harassment, and sexually explicit material, among other things.
Google’s terms of service explain its automated systems analyze user content “to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.”
CNNMoney (San Francisco) First published October 31, 2017: 1:21 PM ET
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