Faulty code push locked users out of Google Docs

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Google locked some users out of their Google Docs files on Tuesday, preventing them from editing or sharing their documents.

Files flagged up as violating Google's terms of service, with users trying to access documents they had been editing only moments before greeted with the message: "This item has been flagged as inappropriate and can no longer be shared."

Those who approached Google for clarification about why their document had been locked, or if it could be unlocked, received a note reading: "Sorry, an error occurred while submitting the appeal request."

IT Pro understands the incident was resolved in a matter of hours.

A Google spokesperson told IT Pro that the issue was the result of a faulty code push.

"The morning of October 31, we made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked," they said.

"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 apologise for the disruption and will put processes in place to prevent this from happening again."

Although the majority of users were unable to access files, another Google Docs user, Iain Mackenzie, explained he had seen the words "game is over" has appeared in a document he had been editing for a few hours, as reported by the BBC.

He insists he was the only person in the document at the time and even the revision history couldn't shed anymore light about what had happened, revealing he was the only person who had made changes.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.