Google Drive is adding the ability for users to block other accounts from sharing files with them, in a move that’s designed to prevent potential harassment and spam on the platform. The feature, which is rolling out over the next two weeks, also stops accounts from accessing any files you’ve shared with them in the past, and removes any of their past files from your drive.
“Drive’s sharing capabilities fuel productivity and collaboration, but bad actors can abuse tools that are meant to facilitate helpful sharing,” Google’s announcement post says. “That’s why we are creating a way to block other users.” Blocking an account in Drive will also prevent them from interacting with you across other Google services like Hangouts and Chat.
The search giant announced the new feature in May. It came after a report from Buzzfeed News highlighted an instance where a user was unable to remove a shared folder from an abusive ex-partner from their Drive. Because the folder contained innocuous photographs, Drive’s existing “report as abuse” feature wasn’t an appropriate response, and the service’s design made it difficult to permanently remove the files otherwise.
According to Google’s support page, the option to block a user will appear if you right-click a file they’ve shared with you in Drive. There’s also an option to unblock users later if you change your mind. It’s an important admission that sharing features can easily be abused by bad actors, even when they’re a part of a service that’s not a traditional social network.