Flickr Censorship

In February 2009, Flickr set my account to Restricted status, resulting in a drastic decrease in stream and photo viewership. During this incident, my entire stream become unavailable to public, which means that my photos on Flickr can no longer be viewed on SML Wiki. Additionally, my portfolio is down, and I was no longer able to post anything to any of the groups I participate in.

This article recounts what happened to my account, my discussion with the Flickr staff, together with data, screenshots, photo examples, related blog posts on the Internet, as well as up-to-date Meta Search Alerts results found on the net.

Flickr Censorship Restricted Moderate Safe
Image flickr:3902043543 flickr:611024529 flickr:3901549297
Description Gay Men Straight Women + Men Straight Men

In a gist, if your photos contain nudity, you must flag them 'restricted'. There was some practices where people flag them as 'friends + family only' and that alone does not do the trick. You _must_ flag them restricted. Also Flickr's censorship standards are somewhat questionable but it is a community and you are somewhat left to its own determination.

Flickr defines any 'skin-tight' clothing as restricted. So as above, the first image is flagged as restricted according to their standards. Unfortunately unless you do so as they wish, your stream will get flagged. Once you have gone through all your photos and applied safety filter level, you can send a request to ask them to review your account again. That should do it.

In regards to why some Flickr accounts get unnoticed, I believe it has to do with traffic and volume. For example, I have noticed that some of the photos Flickr had problems with are highly trafficked area - including many that has a high Google Page Rank on them.

Table of Contents

My experience

2008-03-04: SML Flickr Stats: Daily volume ~4,000

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/2310874877/
flickr:2310874877

2008-07-13: SML Flickr Stats: Daily volume ~4,000

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/2664415869/
flickr:2664415869

2008-08-04: SML Flickr Stats: Daily volume ~4,000

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/2791732938/
flickr:2791732938

2008-11-17: SML Flickr Stats: Daily volume ~4,000

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3038041941/
flickr:3038041941

2009-03-04: SML Flickr Stats: Daily volume ~200

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3328979109/
flickr:3328979109

2009-03-04: SML to Flickr: Why is my stream flagged as moderate? = Severely diminished traffic volume

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3328979109/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/stats

For absolutely unknown reasons, my stream has been flagged as 'moderate' recently which lead to a drop of 90% traffic volume. This is very severe and I hope to figure this one out soon.

2009-03-04: SML Twitter: [SML to Flickr] WTF?!

http://twitter.com/seeminglee/statuses/1281209373
[SML to Flickr] WTF?! http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3328979109/

2009-03-15: Group Participation disallowed

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3328979109/
I just noted that because of this change, I can no longer participate in my groups - like posting designs to graphic design groups????!??!?! I don't get this. Someone please help.

2009-03-23: SML Twitter: Moving from SML Flickr to SML Picasa

http://twitter.com/seeminglee/statuses/1378427368
Proc: SML Flickr to SML Picasa (Flickr's recent q? actions made it impossible 4ny1 to syndicate my content) switching to gg servers 4now

2009-05-24: SML Post on GetSatisfaction.com

http://getsatisfaction.com/flickr/topics/why_is_my_account_flagged_as_moderate_and_what_must_i_do_to_return_life_to_normal

Why is my account flagged as moderate and what must I do to return life to normal?

Despite continually checking the help forums and reading the TOS, I still have not a clue why my account was marked as being 'moderate' as opposed to safe. It has since caused many problems for me, namely:

  • I can no longer retrieve RSS feeds of any of my photographs.
  • I can no longer post photos to any of my groups because the account labeling effectively makes all my assets appear to be 'restricted' to the system regardless of their content.
  • Because of this status change, none of my assets are public, thus they no longer show up on any Flickr API calls.
  • This means my photographs no longer get picked up by Gothamist, NowPblic and other blogs, which have traditionally sent me many referrals.
  • This also means that many of my site's application which depends on the Flickr API now appears to all be broken but unfortunately unfixable.

Daily visitors to my stream dropped from ~4,000/day to 400 when it first happened and now I'm getting ~5/day on my stats, which is very depressive.

So far no one from Flickr nor any of the members (my friends + contacts) appear to understand why my account is flagged, and I am wondering if any of you would have a clue. I have already gone through the 6000+ items on my stream to revalidate and reflag items as appropriate but so far have not heard a word from Flickr and I found that to be odd.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As an fyi, my Flickr URL is http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee

Thanks,
See-ming

mood: sad: I’m depressed, confused and frustrated.

2009-05-26 15:30 Flickr to SML: Nude/sexualized content must be moderated correctly.

via email

Hello,

Re-read the entire E-mail below.
Nude/sexualized content must be moderated correctly.

To demonstrate that you understand what content in your
photostream is not appropriate for the "safe" areas of the
Flickr site, we ask that you moderate all the public,
private, and friends/family content in your photostream
within the Flickr Community Guidelines.

http://www.flickr.com/guidelines.gne

http://flickr.com/help/filters/

All sexualized/nude content in your photostream needs to be
classified as "restricted".
(marking the content as private is different then
moderating the content as "restricted")

You can bulk moderate your "restricted" content using the
organizr tool.
(Do not worry about moderating your "safe" content)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/

Load your images into the organizr tool, pull all(public,
private, and friends/family) images that need to be marked
as "restricted" into the main window, choose the
"restricted" option from the "permissions/set safety filter"
pulldown on top, click save and you're done.

Because your account status is set to "restricted", all of
the images will appear as "restricted" in the organizr tool.
This may seem a little confusing at first but if you take
the required action of moderating your content as
"restricted" where appropriate, that will show on our side
when you request a re-review of your account status.

Regards,
-Terrence

2009-06-03 11:43 SML to Flickr: Define 'sexualized'?

via email

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my email. I'm really glad that you helped clarify that the media items ought to be restricted as opposed to 'moderate'. I have reclassified media items as recommended.

I am however unsure whether you'd consider kissing to be sexualized items or not so I'm leaving them as 'moderate' though it feels somewhat odd to me that it would be considered unsafe… so perhaps you can help me with my query. … a link to my project "kiss" if you can help me with it… otherwise I believe that I've classify all other items according to your guidelines.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/sets/72157602398968495/

Thanks,
See-ming

2009-06-03 13:23 Flickr to SML: 'Sexualized' examples on SML Flickr

via email

Hello,

Examples of sexualized(skintight clothing) content in your
photostream that needs to be marked as "restricted".

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1354739897/
flickr:1354739897

-Terrence

2009-06-04 SML Data: Google Page Rank

Example photo pages given by Flickr apparently have Google Page Rank=6 - setting them to 'Restricted' reduced these pages to 0. Compare with SML Flickr page which has Google Page Rank=5.

2009-06-05 02:18 SML to Flickr: I have applied filtering criteria

via email

Hi,

Thanks for getting back to me. I have applied similar filtering criteria to the rest of my stream. Please let me know if it now satisfies your guidelines.

Thanks,
See-ming

2009-06-05 06:18 Flickr to SML: No you haven't

via email

Hello,

You still have more content that needs to be moderated.

-Terrence

2009-06-07 12:49 SML to Flickr: Trouble filtering using Organizr

via email

Hi, sorry but I have trouble locating images using Organizr to find which ones I haven't been moderated yet…

The main cause for this is that there does not appear to be a way where I can filter out items that I have not marked as restricted yet as the Flickr system automatically marked all my cotnent as restricted becuase of the flag.

While I believe that I have marked content as being restricted — it appears that no mattter what I do, the filter just lists items as being restricted and there does not appear to be a way that I can utilize to then monitor my progress.

Thoughts?

2009-06-07 12:51 SML to Flickr: Censorship standards for 'restricted' content taken at public events

via email

Additionally frustrating:

Many of the photos that you deem 'restricted' were in fact photographed at public events as journalist / photographer and I am not sure how to approach these and those same photos were used in the media.

/SML

2009-06-07 13:28 Flickr to SML: Regardless of where the images were taken

via email

Hello,

Sexualized/nude/skin tight underwear/shorts images need to
be marked as "restricted" regardless of where the images
were taken or how they have been used.

-Terrence

2009-06-07 13:55 SML to Flickr: I have trouble using Organizr to moderate

via email

Sure — can you answer my previous question though:

Hi, sorry but I have trouble locating images using Organizr to find which ones I haven't been moderated yet…

The main cause for this is that there does not appear to be a way where I can filter out items that I have not marked as restricted yet as the Flickr system automatically marked all my cotnent as restricted becuase of the flag.

While I believe that I have marked content as being restricted — it appears that no mattter what I do, the filter just lists items as being restricted and there does not appear to be a way that I can utilize to then monitor my progress.

ie How can I tell if I have marked something or not? While I believe that I have, the system simply flag everything one way…

Thanks,
SML

2009-06-07 14:53 Flickr to SML: All images set to 'restricted' and account classified as 'safe'

via email

Hello,

I have reset all of the images in your photostream to
"restricted" and classified your account as "safe".
This will give you a chance to start over.
Keep the Flickr guidelines in mind when moderating your
content to "safe" in the future.
"safe" means no sexualized/nude content.

http://www.flickr.com/guidelines.gne

http://flickr.com/help/filters/

Regards,
-Terrence

2009-06-07 16:50 SML to Flickr: How do you determine what is moderated vs restricted? Is photographs of swimmer at Olympics considered 'sexualized'?

via email

I took many photos from a skydiving site —a the location many skydivers are bare-chested. Is that sexualized to the guidelines?

Accordingly, when is a photograph of a swimmer considered sexualised vs not?

Further, how do you determine what is moderated vs restricted?

I am struggling with your directive because none of the official guidelines talk about anything about 'sexualized' content. Likewise, some of my photography images, when displayed on the public web, is considered safe according to Google Safety Filter, which is considered to be quite good. I haven't checked the Yahoo algorithm but I am wondering why Flickr cannot use the same algorithm to determine at least for the initial pass what is considered safe or not.

Thanks,
SML

2009-06-07 16:55 Flickr to SML: Bare chested = safe, Skintight underwear/shorts/swim trunks = restricted

via email

Hello,

Bare chested men is fine to be marked as "safe".
Skintight underwear/shorts/swim trunks, etc.. images need
to be marked as "restricted".

-Terrence

2009-06-07 16:59 SML to Flickr: Are these safe / moderate / restricted?

via email

Photos in question:

Also, as an fyi, all of my images taken even at public events received consent and model release from those being photographed and I am in awe that any be deemed voyeurism.

Skydiving
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1103328369
flickr:1103328369

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1103336339
flickr:1103336339

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1104195410
flickr:1104195410

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1104005610
flickr:1104005610

Performance:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1450900286
flickr:1450900286

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/2682489660
flickr:2682489660

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/1387934197
flickr:1387934197

Beach
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/2598890459
flickr:2598890459

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/2598473699
flickr:2598473699

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/611024529
flickr:611024529

Parade
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/692986533
flickr:692986533

public event
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/589103859
flickr:589103859

2009-06-07 17:12 Flickr to SML: Examples of moderate images on SML Flickr

via email

Hello,

Regardless of where an image is taken, it needs to be
moderated.

Moderate:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/611024529/
flickr:611024529

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/589103859/
flickr:589103859

The other images are fine to be marked as "safe".

-Terrence

2009-06-09 SML Post on GetSatisfation.com

http://getsatisfaction.com/flickr/topics/why_is_my_account_flagged_as_moderate_and_what_must_i_do_to_return_life_to_normal#reply_1138185

I don't know if it has to do with this site or not, but I never received a response from Flickr support staff after sending a request for review… and shortly after posting this message, I get an email from them.

Many emails have been exchanged since this first contact and I am glad to announce that the matter has been resolved. I have plans to document this incident including its resolution on my wiki when I am available, which would hopefully be soon now that I no longer have to struggle with the media migration of 6000 images from Flickr to Picasa…

/SML

mood: indifferent: I’m lukewarm towards Flickr at this point, but I'm giving them some more credits because of YQL.

2009-08-26 SML Flickr Stats: Daily volume ~1,500

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3866067033
flickr:3866067033

2009-09-09 SML Pro Blog: Flickr Censorship Standards = Gay Bashing?

http://blog.seeminglee.com/2009/09/flickr-censorship-standards-gay-bashing.html

Earlier this year, Flickr popped my account to "restricted" status, resulting in a 4000 to 200 daily stream views.
flickr:3328979109

It took me 6 months to figure out what the hell was wrong. I didn't get a reply from the official staff despite several attempts to contact them. Eventually I got so pissed off that I did a Twitter stunt and posted a long-winded outcry long-winded outcry on GetSatisfaction.com. That appears to help, I got a reply from the Flickr staff within one day.

Apparently, according to Flickr standards, the image below is to be treated as moderate / restricted.
flickr:3902043543

Personally I do not understand why this image is moderate. Afterall, don't you see guys like this *all the time*?

Flickr replied by saying that the image needs to be moderate because the person is wearing "skin-tight" clothing. I then asked them if I took photos at the Olympics or at the beach, do I need to mark them as moderate as well, to which they reply, that "regardless of where they were taken, they need to be moderated."

In other words, according to Flickr Censorship standards, this will only appear in an R-rated movie. Meanwhile, the Yahoo Pride page during 2007 happily use my photos on their site, so WTF?!

As such the image above is flagged as moderate as well. Even though I disagree with Flickr's standards…

One thing to note, also, is that the image below, which was taken at a skydiving event, was considered OK to Flickr. The only difference is that the guy above is gay and the guy below is straight.

flickr:3901549297

Anyhow, SML Flickr is now "safe" after flagging all these images to moderate to restricted status, but this standard appears questionable.

2009-09-14 SML Flickr: SML Wiki: Flickr Censorship / 2009-09-14 / SML Screenshots

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3918268483/

flickr:3918268483

Comments

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3918268483/comment72157622366017404/

dididumm says:
Glad you're 'visible' again now, even though it seems to have been hard work. As for the flickr standards: I won't discuss them here, it's their website, so in the end they can do whatever they want (it's also not really censorship, again let's leave it to that), but I think it's a problem not only related to flickr, but all the internet. What used to be a toy for adults for some reason needs to become more and more 'safe for children'. With all the consequences. Depending on the location of the website (flickr being US based), certain content is becoming restricted according to - more or less vague - laws.

IMHO when it comes to morally right or wrong we (the western part of the world) are going more and more back to the 50s. Just watch random movies from the 70s or 80s, and compare the nude content to what is 'allowed' in modern movies. It's strange. I just happened to get some old magazines from the early 70s, you wouldn't believe how many naked people (mainly women though) were shown in ads back then - even naked children, which is a no-go, if not illegal, nowadays. Don't get me wrong, these weren't some sort of weird special interests magazines, just the normal ones for every good housewife.

I think you're not right in one point though: referring to the photos of the two guys (2009-09-09), there's actually more difference than one being gay and the other being straight (I couldn't have told from the photos anyway :D). The first one is of course more sexualized (the pose, the focus, the clothes he's wearing) than the second one. I'm not saying I agree with all of the flickr standards, but I can understand that (according to their standards) they consider the second photo 'safe', whereas the first one isn't.

Just my two (or more) cents ;o)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/3918268483/comment72157622254525483/

See-ming Lee 李思明 SML says:
dididumm

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this. I really appreciate your thoughts.

I agree with you that Flickr is a business and they are ethical in making their own decision regarding what they consider to be safe vs moderate vs restricted. As a Flickr citizen participating on this commercial site, I will submit to their rules and regulations, however I think that it is important for me to speak my mind.

Regarding sexualised imagery, I have trouble figuring out what is moderate vs restricted. This is something I believe I need to investigate a bit more.

As always, your input is very much appreciated!

Cheers,
See-ming

Related blogosphere

NowPublic

flickr: Racist and Homophobic, or Scamming?

http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/flickr-racist-and-homophobic-or-scamming
by dysamoria | May 31, 2008 at 02:10 am

By now, readers of my tales of whoa regarding my personal flickr.com experiences know that i have an ax to grind with flickr staff and "leadership." Take that statement as a full disclosure of potential bias on my part, but please hear me out.

Over the last year, we've seen flickr censor access to entire countries, citing legal liability (a questionable excuse, if not utterly ludicrous and mere Yahoo! lawyer butt covering). We've seen them delete user content and then back pedal with statements from founder Stewart Butterfield about how flickr staff will take more care in future to investigate first instead of deleting, which showed up as asking never and just deleting (but sending you a scolding via email), which made Butterfield a liar. When i confronted them with this very issue upon the (unwarned, uncommunicated) deletion of content from my account, i was given passive-aggressive "talk to the hand" responses, claims of violating the TOU (which they would never specify how), eventually followed by the deletion of my entire PAID account, and a new free one i created to attempt taking their policies to task in public view once more. Now i'm just totally blocked from view.

Don't question mommie in public or you'll get a beating when you go home.

Since these events, i've been witness to paying flickr members abandoning their paid accounts to move on to other photo sharing communities after their complaints of harassment and "pervy" abuse of their children's photos went 100% unhandled (and requests for help gone unreplied). i've a contact on flickr who was forced to move to a new account because, like mine, flickr staff has marked his account NIPSA (which is flickr's way of saying that your entire photostream is unsafe for the general population, despite the fact that users can and do moderate their own content). This contact of mine had nothing offensive in public view (again, like myself). He was blocked, by my estimation, because he is gay and sometimes does photo shoots that involve men in situations of love and lust, trust and fear; the artistic expression of age old stories of the human condition. He created a new, paid, account to attempt to start over, since he (like myself) is blocked from ever being seen by anyone not already a contact/friend of his. The public cannot see him. His work will never show on the flickr front page or be in the much coveted hall of fame called "Explore." He is blocked, NIPSAd, censored because… flickr staff are homophobic? i've communicated with this man privately. He is no pervert or exhibitionist. He is a thoughtful, budding photographer who has decided to explore many facets of his inner self along with any collaborators he finds along the way. His photos are of the human condition, not schlock or shock. He told me that he was building a new account for multiple reasons, but i sense the final nail in the coffin was being NIPSAd.

Why is it that he and i have been NIPSAd, yet i constantly accidentally run into full frontal nudity in most any area of the flickr community which runs the gamet from tasteless schlock to artistic expression? Why is a gay man's artistic expression censored? Is it because some insecure flickr staff member is uncomfortable seeing photos of two men expressing emotions via skin to skin contact? Why was i deleted and censored? Is it because the flickr management is too full of themselves to follow their own terms or use and too shallow and arrogant to be seen making liars of themselves and their bosses? Is it because they don't like the same content that they previously marked as SAFE one week prior to deleting my account and the follow-up account?

Homophobia is racism just as much as the hate or discrimination of persons with different national origin or skin color is racism. Discrimination is discrimination. Period. It doesn't matter what kind of discrimination it is.

Now, a new censoring technique has been established: groups have had their administration settings modified en mass, behind the scenes, without warning the group administrators and moderators. The new system policies have made things so that members who's photostreams have been censored and marked as "unsafe," "NIPSA" or "restricted" cannot add their images to a group. The only way this can be changed is if the group changes their settings to allow "restricted" content. The problem with this is that the group is then AUTOMATICALLY changed to an 18+ group and is made invisible to the public. It is then only discoverable by members who have disabled "safe search." Non-members CANNOT disable "safe search." Non-members cannot view 18+ content… even if the content isn't really adult in nature.

This has directly affected me in a most offensive manner: i am no longer able to share my personal self documentation of my autism research with other members of flickr who have groups dedicated to ausitm and Asperger's Syndrome. These are groups of autistic persons and parents of autistic children. Many of my contacts and on-line associates/friends began contact with me because of my open sharing of my autistic life on flickr and the fact that they felt they had gained some new understanding that would help them with their children.

Discrimination against persons with disabilities is racism just as homophobia is racism. The only problem is, there isn't a word for this type of discrimination. The word "homophobia" carries a meaning and a weight. So about a year ago i coined the term "neuroracism." (WikiPedia refused my addition). flickr is discriminating against me based on neuroracism. They are also negatively affecting the groups which have members who expressed appreciation for my contributions. Neuroracism.

When i started posting about this racism and censorship, i started hearing from contacts and friends about how their other contacts and friends have experienced similar discrimination (account blockage or deletion). Many members are edgy and afraid that some harmless upload will get their account deleted.

Then i wondered… Is this a scam? Is flickr crippling accounts just to push members into paying for another, new "pro" account subscription? That would be highly illegal.

At this point, nothing would surprise me. The leadership at flickr have demonstrated amoral and sociopathic attitudes towards their members. Clearly they do not grasp the concept that their users and paying customers ARE flickr. Without the community, there would be only a tool. A great tool, but an empty tool.

i encourage other reporters, editorialists and flickr members to investigate. i encourage anyone who has had unpleasant dealings with Yahoo/flickr to report these experiences to the Better Business Bureau and publish them to NowPublic and anywhere else relevant (news and communities). By being a memberof flickr , paying or not, you MAKE flickr exist. Even as a free member, flickr makes money: the more members, the more advertizing revenue they bring in. Even if that number of members is artificially inflated by forcing existing members to create new accounts, just as what GeoCities or Yahoo did when it resurrected deleted GeoCities accounts to bolster their membership numbers for Yahoo's buyout interest or advertizer interest (i had deleted my GeoCities website months before the buyout and accidentally discovered it was resurrected - i was unable to delete it so i forced them to do it for me by lambasting the Yahoo start page and posting the link everywhere i could).

To paraphrase Ghandi: It's your world. Make it be what it should be.

These services are SERVICES. Make them provide what they claim. Make them provide what you PAID for.

Last comment: since when was it acceptable to refuse refunds for services not rendered? Clicking on "I Agree" to some 5000-word legalese essay (which can be summed up with the six-word phrase "By joining, you have no rights") does not a legal contract make. Look up contracts in law some time. Better yet, read those "agreements" and "Terms Of Use/Service" instead of just mindlessly clicking on that "I Agree" button. Maybe you DON'T agree.

Take back your world and your rights as a human being. Fight discrimination and any other illegal behavior. Don't just throw your hands up and give in. Computer-land or not, these things matter and they carry on to the "real world" faster than you can sneeze.

Censorship and Harassment at Flickr.com: My Personal Experience

http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/censorship-and-harassment-flickr-com-my-personal-experience
by dysamoria | September 21, 2007 at 02:03 pm

i was a member of flickr from June 2006 to September 7th. i renewed my membership in June 2007. Flickr deleted my account. They owe me reinstatement or refund.

Why did they delete me? i embarrassed them. Or, more specifically, i embarrassed one staff member, so it seems. Michelle. My original intent in posting the material that Michelle deleted, without warning, was as a public service to the victims of one "dave sewell" also known as "angelfishsolo" on flickr. This is a man who has harassed several other members, especially women and the men they associate with. This is a man who brought his hate-fest to me, a complete stranger, because he seems to have felt that antagonizing me would be a great way to continue harassing his other victims (who i had been flickr friends with for some time). i posted the entire exchange between sewell and myself via flickr and private email into one of my photos, demonstrating that sewell is a liar and uses his flickr account for harassment and intimidation of other flickr members, which clearly violates the flickr Terms Of Use "agreement." My posting broke no such rules, but it was deleted, without warning or contact. No discussion. No questions asked, just deletion. POWER over others, demonstrated by flickr staff Michelle.

So i reposted, including Michelle's "after the fact" messages to me, as well as the email address for the "case number" of this event. i also criticized her choice of actions. She didn't like that. She deleted my text again, but this time left the photo. Why? Maybe because i was RIGHT in stating that deletion first is a BAD policy. Especially since flickr founder Stewart Butterfield, just 6 months ago, stated that flickr would be erring on the side of caution from there on (there was a massive event of censorship that earned flickr a black eye in the media, though i do not have the 450+ supporters that the flickr member of that event had, i fully intend to publicize my experience just the same).

When Michelle deleted my latest content, i decided to push it up a level and made a public posting in the forums. This earned me deletion.

For the FULL details, including comments by sewell's other victims, comments by sewell that he tried to hide after the fact, and the case numbers, emails, etc, see my blog. (rather than duplicate it all here).

The story starts here: http://dysamoria.com/blog/2007/08/the_microcosm.html
BROKEN LINK AND I DON'T KNOW WHY

continues here: http://dysamoria.com/blog/2007/09/flickr-has-deleted-me-instead-of-real.html

and then here with my open letter to Stewart Butterfield: http://dysamoria.com/blog/2007/09/open-letter-to-stewart-butterfield-of.htm

and then on to here: http://dysamoria.com/blog/2007/09/flickrs-continued-censorship.html

Be forewarned: It's long, but that's why things like this get passed over and ignored. It's not really that complicated, it's just not in an easy-reader format. It all happened as i said above. i do HIGHLY recommend reading all the comments at each post. You will get a good perspective of the reality as is presented uncensored, instead of as is presented by those who would have you see their own distorted reality. dave sewell's statements speak for themselves, just remember that 1 in 25 people is a sociopath and have your sociopath handbook with you as you read his comments (especially noting his deletion of comments he posted and his general behavior).

EDIT: BBB Yahoo-flickr Complaint.rtf

Thomas Hawk

Someone's started a Flickr Is Fascist Blog, Accuses Flickr of Anti-Gay Censorship Policies

http://thomashawk.com/2009/08/someones-started-a-flickr-is-fascist-blog-accuses-flickr-of-anti-gay-censorship-policies.html

flickr:3815606152
Update: I just got banned from the Flickr help forum for posting a link about the new blog there.
flickr:3815707440
I've Been Banned From the Flickr Help Forum
Update #2: the Flickr is Fascist blog has moved to http://saynotoflickr.blogspot.com/
Well it looks like someone’s finally gotten sick and tired enough of Flickr account deletions that they’ve launched a “Flickr is Fascist” blog. And before you ask, no, it wasn’t me.

The blog seems to focus especially on the recent rash of censorship on Flickr dealing with male non-porn gay related photostreams. The new site specifically calls out the fact that flickr censors closed their thread in the help forum entitled “Flickr’s new anti-gay policy” among others.

In addition to the help forum post above being locked by Flickr staff, there have been several recent cases on Flickr where photos showing either non-nude male self portraits, non-nude male models, or photos of men in public have been either recharacterized as “restricted” NIPSA accounts or have been deleted entirely. In one case, a professional photographer who focused on non nude beefcake type male models, Edelson Flores, had his entire photostream deleted with Flickr citing the fact that he was posting other people’s work as their reasoning. Flores has denied that his stream contained photos that were not his and in fact had his own copyright watermark over every photo in his stream.

In a post on the new “Flickr is Fascist” blog they point out specifically what they feel is a double standard when it comes to Flickr’s deletion of candid photos of males in public in the post “Flickr has Issues With the Male Body:”

“A community of ‘candid’ photographers of men in public situations (all of whom have paid for their accounts in good faith) has been displaced and silenced on photo-sharing site Flickr in less than a fortnight. Four prominent photostreams as well as countless photos vanished from July 6th 2009 to July 13th 2009 without warning or right to appeal. At least one site had over a million hits in less than a year. Flickr has stubbornly refused to give a reason for its recent axe-grinding mission against these sites, but one user was given the reason ‘voyeur content’ after more than 8 days of asking for a reason yet that particular site contained pictures of men in public which is legal. Flickr has refused to expand on the reason it gave, but cited its ambiguous and open-ended ‘Don’t be creepy’ clause in its Terms of Service asjustification for terminating at least one photostream. Flickr has also silenced debate about the issue on its Help Forum. When confronted with whether or nor the famous Robert Doisineau candid image of the kissing couple in Paris was voyeur content or simply a candid street photo, Flickr immediately closed the thread and banned the user from challenging Flickr’s inability to define ‘voyeur content’ as opposed to candid content. Disturbingly Flickr has refused to reopen the debate. Another thread ‘ Flickr’s new anti-gay policy’ was also closed in a mater of hours. Is it a a coincidence that the many candid men sites were closed within a week? Flickr silent wall of automated e-mails will never let you know.”

It will be interesting to see if this new blog or other public criticism of Flickr’s censorship policies will in fact have any impact on the account deletions that seem to be taking place almost daily on the site.
Thomas Hawk's FriendFeed: Someone’s Started a Flickr is Fascist Blog, Accuses Flickr of Anti-Gay Censorship Policies

FriendFeed: flickr censorship from:thomashawk

http://friendfeed.com/search?q=flickr+AND+censorship+from%3Athomashawk&format=atom

Flickr is Fascist

http://saynotoflickr.blogspot.com

How-to: what to do if Flickr flagged your stream as moderate / unsafe

Go to http://www.flickr.com/help/with/review/ and request your account to be reviewed by Flickr staff. Best of luck!

FAQs You might find helpful

Where do I set the safety level on my photos?

http://www.flickr.com/help/filters/#255

You can set a default safety level for photos you upload, on a page in Your Account. Whatever you set here will carry through to any/all upload methods you use.

To see what your photos are currently set at, go to the Organizr, click "More Options" near the bottom of the page, and filter by safe, moderate, and restricted.

You can also change whatever default you've set per photo or batch as you upload, and after your content is uploaded. There are batch editing tools available in the Organizr, and on the page where you see one of your photos, there's a "Flag your photo" link under the Additional Information heading where you can also change the safety level.

My account has been reviewed as safe. What does that mean?

http://www.flickr.com/help/filters/#252

Having a "safe" account means that you are good at moderating your own content. Awesome!

If your account is also "NIPSA", you may be one of the people caught up in the transition between the old system of moderation (public, pending, private accounts etc) and the new way (safety level/content type filters). It's fairly likely that if your account is NIPSA, it's because your account was NIPSA pre-transition, and that it may require a review by staff. You can request a review if you wish. It's fairly unlikely that staff would flag an entire account in the new system, given that you have more fine-grained control over the images in your account.

My account has been reviewed as moderate. hat does that mean?

http://www.flickr.com/help/filters/#253

Having a "moderate" flag on your account probably means that you are generally a good self-moderator, but occasionally things pop up in your photostream that may be in the wrong categories. Staff hear about this sort of thing because your fellow members can flag photos around the site if they feel that you have categorized things incorrectly, or they may even send a report to us that some of your content is offensive.

Remind yourself of our Community Guidelines to see what's OK and what's not on Flickr, and moderate your content accordingly.

To moderate your content:

Go to the Organizr

  1. Load all images (public, private, and friends/family) that need to be marked as Moderate.
  2. Click Permissions > Set safety filter to set them as Moderate.
  3. If you have images that should be marked as Restricted, repeat steps 2 & 3 for those as well.

Once you've done done that - and not before - you can request a review.

My account has been reviewed as unsafe. What doese that mean?

http://www.flickr.com/help/filters/#254

An "unsafe" account is something we think of as a loose cannon. It's not clear to us that you're moderating your own content at all, or if you are, you're not bearing in mind that there are other people using Flickr and that it's up to you to not be overtly offensive.

Triggers to flagging an entire account as "unsafe" include staff receiving an unusual number of complaints about your photos, or photos in your stream receiving an unusual number of votes, or if there are an unusual number of blocks against your account. All of these factors can be remedied by you: you simply need to moderate your content using the Safety Level & Content Type categories, so people don't unexpectedly stumble upon content which they may find offensive or otherwise inappropriate.

You should re-read our Community Guidelines to see what's OK and what's not on Flickr, and moderate your content accordingly.

To moderate your content:

Go to the Organizr

  1. Load all images (public, private, and friends/family) that need to be marked as Restricted.
  2. Click Permissions > Set safety filter to set them as Restricted.
  3. If you have images that should be marked as Moderate, repeat steps 2 & 3 for those as well.

Once you've done done that - and not before - you can request a review.

What are content filters?

http://www.flickr.com/help/filters/#258

Flickr is a global community made up of many different kinds of people. What's OK in your back yard may not be OK in theirs. Each one of us bears the responsibility of categorizing our own content within this landscape. So, we've introduced some filters to help everyone try to get along.

There are 2 types of filters that you need to use for your content.

1. Safety Level

  • Safe - Content suitable for a global, public audience
  • Moderate - If you're not sure whether your content is suitable for a global, public audience but you think that it doesn't need to be restricted per se, this category is for you
  • Restricted - This is content you probably wouldn't show to your mum, and definitely shouldn't be seen by kids

2. Content Type

  • Photos / Videos
  • Illustration/Art / Animation/CGI or other non-photographic images, or
  • Screencasts / Screenshots - what's a screenshot

When you upload content to Flickr, you need to choose where it "fits" in these 2 categories. For example, if you want to upload a screenshot of a web page, you can, but you need to flag it as a screenshot.

Putting your content into these categories means that everyone can then apply filters to searches they do to make sure they're seeing what they want to see.

Note: If your Yahoo! ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong or Korea you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service (this means you won’t be able to turn SafeSearch off). If your Yahoo! ID is based in Germany you are not able to view restricted content due to your local Terms of Service.

Bear in mind that all content you upload is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service and our Community Guidelines.

Here are the main links you'll need to set yourself up.

Meta Search Alerts

Meta Search Alerts: Flickr Censorship
http://feeds.feedburner.com/meta-search-alerts-flickr-censorship

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License