Finding Inappropriate Content on Your Website

About This Document

This document describes a methodology for finding inappropriate content on your website.

Context

The Morris Federation has recently provided advice to sides which are about to close due to a shortage of members. We have suggested that while there are still members of the side available who have an interest in managing information about the history of the side the advice given in the Digital Preservation: Using the WayBack Machine and Digital Preservation: Submitting Your Website to the UK Web Archive are implemented. In addition to ensuring that a copy of the website is taken (which, in any case, has probably happened automatically with the Internet Archive) that home page should provided details of the side’s closure and any inappropriate content is removed.

However since the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine automatically makes copies of many websites on a regular basis (a) the copies may already contain inappropriate content and (b) when a side is closing members may not be motivated to carry out such work.

We therefore suggest that sides should check their websites to see if they are hosting inappropriate content on a regular basis (say, annually) even if the side is thriving.

What Is ‘Inappropriate Content’?

Inappropriate content may include:

  • Illegal content which may include personal information (such as side members’ address and phone numbers)
  • Embarrassing content, which could include content which, although not illegal, does not reflect the times we live in.
  • Irrelevant content which my be content not relevant to the side’s activities

Note that content may have been added to a side’s website many years ago and has been forgotten about or may have been added by the side’s web manager as a convenient host for content which is not relevant to the side. Hence the reason to check the content in a systematic fashion.

Methodology

A simple approach to checking website content is to use advance Google search capabilities as summarised in the Table below (note that URL should be replaced by the URL of your side’s website).

Google search termAboutWhat could be found
site: URL filetype:pdfSearch for PDF files on your websiteScanned copies of completed forms.
site: URL filetype:doc
site: URL filetype:docx
Search for MS Word files on your website Names and addresses of side members.
site: URL filetype:xsl
site: URL filetype:xslx
Search for MS Excel files on your website Names and addresses of side members; accounts.
Table 1: Google search terms for finding files on your website

In addition a standard Google search should be used and the Images option selected to check images hosted on your website, as illustrated below.

Figure 2: Google search for images

Note if you allow people to add comments on your website (e.g. if you are using a blogging platform such a WordPress) you should check to ensure that spam comments haven’t been published.


Status of this Document

Document to be published: 5 Nov 2021

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Finding Inappropriate Content on Your Website" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.

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