More Censorship Charges for Flickr, This Time From Germany
[I’m CEO of Zooomr]
Flickr: Discussing Deutsch und mit Zensur – Das nennt man Verbesserung! Nicht mit uns! in Keine Zensur!!! Received an email today from a reader alerting me to the apparent lack of ability for Flickr users to turn off “safe search” when using Flickr in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong or Korea.
I don’t speak German, so I’m not sure on what the thread linked actually means, and these are only allegations at this point. I have no idea if these allegations are really true or not. Still, it seems unfortunate that Flickr continues to build a reputation and a brand so tied to the idea of censorship. In the past month in addition to charges of censorship being leveled at Flickr from some of their biggest users, stories on censorship at Flickr have appeared widely on the internet from digg to Slashdot to Forbes to the BBC. Ironic especially in light of the fact that Flickr themselves have found themselves on the other side of a censorship issue having their own site censored in China. I guess helping to put that Chinese journalist in jail didn’t help them out as much as they would have hoped.
Twice in the past month Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield himself has written apologies to prominent Flickr users who have found themselves censored. Many non prominent Flickr users who have not received apologies continue to post about censorship on Flickr as well.
To be fair, running a photo sharing site is not easy, that’s for sure. And especially as Flickr spends the next 6 months or so trying to add another 2 billion photos from non-Flickr users accounts from Yahoo Photos, moderation of what is shown on the site will increasingly become a factor.
And also again to reiterate. I have *no idea* if it is true that Germans can’t turn off safe search. It just seems though that a lot of Germans are upset about this this morning. I, no doubt, will likely be attacked by non-disclosing anonymous Yahoo IP comments simply for pointing this out though.
More from Slashdot.
Update: Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield has formally responded to the allegations of censoring Flickr in Germany:
We really apologize for the delay in responding to these threads. The whole Flickr team has been in ongoing discussions, trying to hammer out a solution.
We have absolutely no intention of censoring the content on the community’s behalf. It is always been our intention that Flickr members participate to whatever extent they want and are as free as possible create their own experience. Currently, switching the SafeSearch function off is not available for German members. It is a really complex situation — we have been in deliberation on this for a while, and we had to make the decision whether or not to leave Germany and the German language out of the international launch.
The decision came down to the wire, but we decided to include Germany. We’re still hoping that that was the right decision. It definitely was not a decision that was made lightly and there is no intention to annoy, frustrate or inconvenience Flickr members in Germany. Rest assured, we do hear you loud and clearly (painfully loud, even) and are doing our best. We hope to have more to say soon.
Update #2: Again, I don’t read German, but coverage from Spiegel, Europe’s largest magazine.