DEPENDING ON MY viewing platform, content to and from Flickr has to jump through four hoops.
1. I must relinquish some creative control to Yahoo! Here are the terms: “Flickr is not a venue for to you harass, abuse, impersonate, or intimidate others. If we receive a valid complaint about your conduct, we will send you a warning or terminate your account.” So if someone is pissed off with something I upstream, with a caption I write or a comment I make, I might be banned forever by Flickr.
2. My images must pass the Flickr community sanity check. If I put up an image of someone on a beach, a mermaid underwater, or a backstage group mingling at a burlesque show, that image normally gets shuttered behind a "safe content" setting by Flickr's internal controls.
3. Unless I change my default settings, Flickr will not show me everything for all lookups because in nearly every category, Flickr judges some things as unsafe for work or unsuitable for the easily offended.
4. All of Flickr must pass through local censorware when I operate on bandwidth maintained by the local civic authority. I cannot see anything from Flickr when on that bandwidth, which means days of outreach spending sharing my Flickr photostreams with some community sites are days without my Flickr photo albums.
I'm a little surprised by the heavy-handedness of both Flickr's policies and the easy manner some IT staffs have rolled over and accepted the default settings of some censorware products. But I'm upset by what's happened to someone who used a Flickr image to document how she was ripped off--and then got censored by Flickr. Thomas Hawk explains.
Rebekka is a single mom and art student living in Iceland. She's an artist and a talented one at that. She does amazing things with her camera. Recently she discovered that a gallery Only-Dreemin had been ripping her off. They'd sold thousands of dollars worth of her images and when she caught them and tried to make them give her the money that they stole from her they refused. So Rebekka did what anyone with a following on the internet might do and she posted about her frustration and plight on her flickrstream. And her story resonated loudly with the flickr community. Her story made the front page of digg and by days end she had 100,000 views on this particular photograph with hundreds of supportive comments.
So what's got me pissed today? What's got me pissed today is that according to Rebekka, Flickr has removed her image from their site. That's right. Not only did they remove and kill her image and her *non-violent* words of protest, but they censored each and every one of us who commented on her photograph, who offered support to Rebekka, who shared in her frustration by wiping every single one of our comments off the face of the internet forever.