If Your Weed-Related Google Docs Have Disappeared, Don’t Panic

Did your Google Docs disappear yesterday? Before you have a full-blown anxiety attack, here’s the explanation Google gave.
If Your Weed-Related Google Docs Have Disappeared, Don’t Panic

If any of your Google docs have disappeared, don’t panic. Even if your super secret weed-related Google docs have vanished, there is no immediate need for alarm. Google has released a statement explaining this bizarre and stress-inducing event.

The Incident

If Your Weed-Related Google Docs Have Disappeared, Don’t Panic

Yesterday morning, a strange event haunted some users of the online collaborative writing tool known as Google Docs. Some strange, mysterious event that slashed and abducted select documents, destroying the sharing and editing features. Google left behind only one message: “This item has been flagged as inappropriate and can no longer be shared.”

The event puzzled and perplexed.

Why was this happening? Did Google target certain people? What does Google consider “inappropriate” anyway?

For those using Google Docs to collaborate on anything related to weed, this may have been particularly distressing. Understandably so. Even if you live in a legal state and use Google Docs to share and edit business plans for a licensed dispensary or growing facility, and somehow were unable to access your documents, this whole thing may have been an absolute nightmare scenario. An Orwellian nightmare, even.

But fear not, cannabis business owners. Google did not target you. Or anyone else for that matter.

Representatives of Google addressed the incident yesterday afternoon. In the statement, they made it clear that those who couldn’t access their documents had this problem due to a coding error. Not some elaborate, targeted plot.

“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,” the statement read. It went on to assure Google Docs users that they fixed the problem. Everyone should now be able to access their material.

The Implications

If Your Weed-Related Google Docs Have Disappeared, Don’t Panic

Remember over the summer when Google told the world that they would continue reading our emails, but it was OK because they were going to stop using the content to target advertisements to you? And then your immediate reaction was “Wait, Google actually reads my emails?!”

Turns out, nothing on Google is safe.

Google’s Privacy Policy clearly states that it automatically scans your content (including the private ones like emails and documents) to “customiz[e] search results, tailo[r] advertising and [detect] spam and malware.”

Chances are, you have nothing to worry about.

Unless of course, Google is compelled to share information with legal entities. If you are a player in the cannabis business, this carries the potential to create problems for you and your business.

If you logged on to Google yesterday and found that your Google Docs have disappeared, the problem has likely been resolved by now. But this whole incident begs the question: how much privacy can we expect from online tools? Turns out, we can’t expect much. We don’t want to cause anxiety, but if you use Google Docs for anything weed-related, you may want to revisit the Privacy Policy. You know, just to err on the side of caution.

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