Following a number of tweets griping about being blocked from accessing documents on Google Docs for alleged terms of service violations, Google has responded and is looking into the problem.
If a document is affected by the issue, an error message will be displayed explaining that the contents of the document violate Google's terms of service. There does not appear to be any pattern of which types of users are affected although a number of complaints on Twitter are from journalists. It is likely purely coincidence that many writers use Google Docs and is in no way indicative of censorship by Google.
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
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done except wait until Google is able to resolve the problem. This is one of the downfalls of cloud services. Users are completely reliant on the service provider to back up and protect their personal data and have little to no recourse if there does happen to be an issue.
Following the incident, this should be a good reminder to keep offline backups of important documents. Tracking site DownDetector has reported issues accessing Google Drive files in certain regions as well.
We understand your concern. The team has been made aware and is investigating. Appreciate your patience.— Google Docs (@googledocs) October 31, 2017
For now, all that can be done is to await a fix. Service is expected to return to normal later today.
Image courtesy Engadget