Flickr = Censorship
[I am CEO of Zooomr]
I’m pretty pissed right now. Two days ago I blogged about an incident involving Rebekka Guðleifsdóttira. Rebekka is one of the most popular photographers on Flickr and definitely someone that those of us who have been around for a while would consider “Old Skool” (RIP).
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.
According to Rebekka, Flickr’s explanation?
“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 a flickr photographer gets ripped off. Dares to complain about it. Has an outpouring of support on the internet over it and Yahoo decides censorship is the way to handle this? This is the worst I’ve seen from Yahoo yet.
You know when Yahoo decided to without my permission delete a photograph I’d posted of Michael Crook and along with it a long dialog of community conversation I was pissed. But I’m even more pissed now.
Yahoo should not get away with this. This type of censorship is not right. They should apologize to Rebekka and reinstate this photo that they deleted and all it’s comments. These comments that Flickr don’t belong to them. They belong to all of us. All of us, the community that makes Flickr even possible. Remember the community Yahoo? Remember the community that Flickr used to stand behind.
I remember back when I posted a much earlier photo on Flickr when I’d almost been ripped off by PriceRitePhoto. I used this photo to put pressure on PriceRitePhoto which eventually put them and their sleazy business practices out of business. You know what? Back when this happened I actually got a personal email supportive of my plight from someone on Flickr staff. That was then though. This is now.
Rebekka, I’m sorry that Yahoo has decided to censor you. Consider this post and the posting I’ll make at Flickr a protest in support of you and your right to share your frustrations in your photostream and in your art.
This really sucks, and know that even without Flickr, the attention to this matter will not die down. I’m not sure how this company got to Flickr and Yahoo, but this will not make their problem of cheating you go away. Because when people censor it only makes the censored story ring louder in the end.
Rebekka, you had my support when you originally posted about your plight and you have it now.
And to Yahoo and Flickr? Shame on you.
Update: Flickr has formally responded on this matter and a debate regarding this “mistake” is going on over here in this Flickr Help Forum. Feel free to chime in if you’d like.
Update #2: More news on this now from the BBC.
Update #3: More here.