Google Drive is adding the ability for users to prevent other accounts from sharing files with them in an effort to prevent potential harassment and spam on the platform. The function, which is rollout in the next two weeks, also prevents accounts from accessing files you’ve shared with them in the past, and removes all their previous files from your drive.
“Drive’s sharing capabilities encourage productivity and collaboration, but malicious parties can abuse tools designed to facilitate useful sharing,” says Google’s announcement. “That’s why we’re creating a way to block other users.” If you block an account in Drive, they won’t be able to communicate with you in other Google services such as Hangouts and Chat.
The search giant announced the new feature in May. It came after a report of Buzzfeed news flagged an instance where a user was unable to delete an abusive ex-partner’s shared folder from their drive. Because the folder contained innocent photos, Drive’s existing “report as abuse” feature was not an appropriate response, and the service’s design made it difficult to otherwise permanently delete the files.
According to Google’s support page, the option to block a user appears when you right-click a file they’ve shared with you in Drive. There is also an option to unblock users later if you change your mind. It is an important acknowledgment that feature sharing can be easily abused by bad actors, even if they are part of a service that is not a traditional social network.