Google Docs users are reporting various bugs today that result in them getting locked out of their documents. Most of the issues center on a mysterious Terms of Service violation.
The reports largely come from journalists. It's unclear whether the error is targeting media companies and reporters, or if it’s just coincidence because reporters tend to spend a lot of time in the app (and on Twitter). Nevertheless, this bug is concerning, considering it implies that Google is scanning documents for content and something is misfiring on the company's end.
We reached out to Google for clarification and received this statement back: "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.”
Has anyone had @googledocs lock you out of a doc before? My draft of a story about wildlife crime was just frozen for violating their TOS.— Rachael Bale (@Rachael_Bale) October 31, 2017
Tfw your finalizing a piece on E. Europe post-socialist parties in Google Drive and Google removes it because it's in violation of its ToS??— Bhaskar Sunkara (@sunraysunray) October 31, 2017
Update 10/31, 4:16 PM ET: Updated to include Google's statement.