Flickr – this is wrong

by kai on 15/06/2007

I haven’t posted for quite a while – but the following annoys me that much, that I have to tell the world about it.

Flickr – our wonderful world-spanning web 2.0 image gallery has introduced content filtering recently. Well done, I’m a big fan of that idea. User are supposed to classify their images into one of three categories, “restricted” is the tightest of those.

As I said, that’s fine. This mechanism helps to protect minors and maybe the odd shocking experience when looking at a bare-breast woman at a beach (it might be a shock for some, whatever). So, you’d expect your user profile settings to offer an option to set the type of images you want to see or to block respectively, right? The reason for my expectation is: I’m 32 years old, I live my own life, I pay my bills myself, I vote in the elections, I’m grown up. I’m not asking for too much, do I? Or to be pretty blunt about it: If I want to see naked or barely dressed people’s pictures on Flickr, it’s my call. If I want to see pictures of weird (or sometimes very nice) piercings and tattoos, it’s my call etc. I could go on for hours, but I think you get my point. It’s not about viewing porn in Flickr, well, one could get that much easier for free anywhere else in the web, it’s about my right of controlling myself what I want to see on there.

All this is fine, but not if you live in either Germany, Singapore, Korea or Hong Kong. If you’re using Flickr with a Yahoo ID of one of those countries, you CAN NOT set the level of content you’d like to see which basically means that all pics labelled as restricted are not shown in groups, listings, not even in your friends’ listings etc. That means you don’t even know that this picture exists. If you surf to the picture’s URL directly, you’d get a message that you’re not allowed to see this content.

Sadly my Yahoo ID had been created back in Germany years ago, so I fell under those restrictions. To be honest, if there was an alternative to Flickr, I would cancel my account with them due to this silly and cheapish censorship. Given the reality of Flickr not really have a proper competitor, I’ve just created a new Yahoo ID based in New Zealand (but really, get one from where ever you like unless it’s not one of the 4 countries above) and transferred my Flickr account to this NZ Yahoo ID and everything was back to normal.

jim collins June 16, 2007 at 12:00 am

“To be honest, if there was an alternative to Flickr, I would cancel my account with them due to this silly and cheapish censorship.”

James June 16, 2007 at 12:00 am
Adam June 17, 2007 at 12:00 am

Think yourself lucky, if you live in Dubai you can’t see Flickr at all, and in Thailand there’s no Youtube. In both cases they are blocked by a country wide proxy. I’d assume these changes are an attempt to work around this type of government censorship.

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