How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted?

Watch Out, Your Flickr Account Might be Up for Deletion Next

One of the things that continuously pisses me off to no end is how capriciously and callously Flickr goes about deleting accounts with no warning. The latest example comes from Flickr user Shéhérazade. After paying for a Flickr Pro account and uploading photos to a stream on Flickr that had been visited over 150,000 times, Shéhérazade found that one day her account was in her words, “deleted without any reason or warning.” According to Shéhérazade, when she tried to contact Flickr about the problem, “Terrence” from the Flickr Censorship Bureau (FCB) told her that her account had been deleted because it included photos that had not been taken by her.

Although at first Shéhérazade had said that all of the photos in her stream were taken by her, she later admitted that 10 of the photos in her stream were not taken by her. But it turns out that, according to Shéhérazade, those 10 photos were actually of her from a model session that she participated in and she claimed that she had rights to them as the model being photographed. Now apart from whether or not Shéhérazade actually has legal rights to those photos, what pisses me off here is just that Flickr without warning continues deleting user accounts.

To make matters worse, when Flickr deletes your account it really is gone. There’s no going back. It’s permanently deleted. Gone forever. There’s no undo. There’s no, “I’m sorry we accidentally pressed the delete button.” Not only are all your photos gone, but thousands of comments left by users throughout the site are also permanently gone. Same goes for images that they delete from your account, like they’ve done to me in the past.

Anyways, so Shéhérazade gets pissed of course. You would be too if your Flickr account were deleted. So she does what anyone might do, she goes to the Flickr Help Forum to express her dissatisfaction over this and try to get some sort of response from Flickr (see screenshot above).

It should be noted that some of Shéhérazade’s photos were of a shall we say “adult” nature. But all of her photos had been correctly marked as “restricted” by her pursuant to the Flickr rules.

So her response back from Flickr? Well the only response she got back in the help forum was a rudely worded message from Flickr Community Manager Heather Champ locking the thread.

Flickr Closed Thread

Here first response she got back was:

“Apologies… I’ve been battling a cold and a little less observant that normal. This topic is way over heated. I’m going to close it for 24 hours to let people chill out. I would ask that once the topic is re-opened that we dial back the name calling and ugliness towards members and the team.”

but before the thread could be reopened, Champ then posted this follow up message:

“I’ve gone back and had the opportunity to read through the back and forth. While it might serve to continue to further the discussion, I think that attitude of the OP isn’t something that I want to give a further venue to. I think it would be better served via 1:1 Help by Email. As such, I’m closing this puppy permanently.”

Now this doesn’t really surprise me. In fact in my own thread the other day where I complained about five of my images being censored (a museum painting, a sculpture from Beverly Hills, and some screenshots critical of Flickr) that thread ended up locked as well (but at least I got Flickr to agree to uncensor 4 of my 5 censored photos).

But the point is this. Flickr should NOT be permanently deleting anyone’s account. Especially a paid account. And especially without warning. In the event that Flickr really feels that they need to delete an account, I think that they owe it to their customers to first engage in a dialog about the images. Were there images in Shéhérazade’s account that were not hers? Maybe. But maybe a perfectly reasonable explanation was that she was the model in the photos and had permission to use them.

Are there photos in your Flickrstream that are not yours? I know that I have a few photos in my stream that are not mine. For instance, this photo of me can’t possibly have been taken by me because I’m only about 6 months old and clearly was in no position to handle a camera in 1968. Should I deserve to have my Flickr account deleted without warning for this?

Shéhérazade set up a new account on Flickr and posted a single black image in protest of her account deletion a few days ago and the image already has 106 comments on the image, mostly all expressing how much they will miss her work on Flickr.

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  1. anika says:

    I keep seeing more and more of these stories over the past few years. It makes me want to give up my flickr account and move elsewhere.

  2. Andy Beal says:

    What if you only ever stored your photos on Flickr? Banning the account from public viewing would be more acceptable than completing deleting it. Give the user a chance to make alternative arrangements for their photos!

  3. Steve says:

    Does Smugmug and other photo sites have a similar policy? The benefits of sites like Flickr, Smugmug, etc is that it is a true community that allows inter-linking of photos and comments, but Flickr staff shouldn’t be acting like fascists, and should enter into some sort of dialogue with the account holder before they delete the account.

    What about if the user has to certify each and every photo as theirs?? A bit unwieldly. I wonder what legal issues Flickr et al has to consider ….

  4. This speaks to my general misgivings about reliance on web services. If i were a serious photographer, I would never trust my collections to a 3rd party like Flickr. Learn to build and maintain your own sites, or hire someone to do it for you. Don’t use services upon which you are permanently reliant.

  5. Jason says:

    Did the original photographer of Shéhérazade’s modeling photos complain to Flickr, which led to the deletion of Shéhérazade’s account? There is a step missing in this narrative…

  6. David Newman says:

    Thank you for posting this, Thomas.

    UGLY.COM’s correspondent in Barcelona, Qwurky’s account was also deleted by Flickr.

    I wrote this to Flickr’s help team yesterday:

    Dear Flickr: (and Terrence)

    I am inquiring about the deletion of an account owned by another Flickr member, David: Qwurky was his username.

    David is a truly original, thoughtful and funny photographer who documents the street life of Barcelona.

    I know that you can only discuss accounts with their owners, so please follow up directly with him, and he will share your reply with me.

    I joined Flickr in August of 2004, and I’ve seen thousands of photos from Flickr members who have come and gone.

    David is/was a FLICKR ORIGINAL, a treasure who Flickr was very lucky to have.

    I miss his work, and and am looking forward to his account being reinstated.

    David, aka Qwurky on Flickr…

    — is an ARTIST

    — is a very talented copywriter who has mastered Madison Avenue Ad-speak. For all I know, he was an advertising copywriter, and an accomplished one at that.

    — is a clever humorist

    — is a very good photographer who posts his own recent photos as well as photos he has taken 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years ago.

    — is a very generous person who shared thousands of photos with the Flickr community and the world at no charge

    — generously allowed me to quote his work by entering hundreds of his photos into the Uglydotcom group so that I could post them on UGLY.COM and UGLYbrandNEWS.

    — engaged in thoughtful conversations with other Flickr users who commented on his works

    — demonstrated advanced Photoshop skills in the area of seamless cloning, filtering, and annotation

    — in the spirit of Honoré Daumier, the French caricaturist, he exaggerates human attributes to call attention to human frailty

    — in the spirit of countless political cartoonists, he uses textual annotations, big funny arrows, and visual callouts to enhance the visual image with his own tongue-in-cheek Godlike observations of the human condition

    — he has evolved his own visual style that I have never seen anywhere else. It might look like his work was stolen because it looks so professional, with professional visual and textual techniques.

    — he is not immune to his own satirical barbs; he posts self-portraits and pokes the most fun at himself.

    — he evens call attention to things in the photos that weren’t shown in his photos (in a very clever way)

    — every photo that I saw that he posted appeared to be his own photography, taken in and around Barcelona with his own camera

    — I saw no photos that he posted that appeared to be the work of others

    Best Regards,

    David Newman
    San Francisco

  7. […] une utilisatrice (que l’on peut qualifier de populaire) s’est fait fermer son compte flickr pro sans raison valable et sans avertissement. Ce n’est pas réversible et la censure est devenue […]

  8. Chris Loft says:

    Shéhérazade’s photos are beautiful; this is really sad. Especially for a paid account. What next . . . will flickr delete accounts with lolcats that have not been taken by the owners of the account?

  9. chethan says:

    you must fight!!
    complain to police

  10. This is the comment I posted on Shéhérazade’s Flickr page.

    If you have been storing tons of precious content on someone else’s server over which you have absolutely no control, you absolutely deserve what you got.

    Flickr may be cool to have, but an old fashioned web hosting package and a WP installation is definitely more reliable. Not only will a host (provided you don’t go to a big name no-face corporate) not pull the plug on your website without reason, you also have the ability to back up your content (images and comments) at your leisure.

    I don’t even see a physical address or phone number on this site. There is no way in hell I am trusting my photographs to a corporation that won’t even tell me where they’re at or how can I speak to a real person in case of a problem.

  11. […] This is why you should think for two seconds before going Pro with Flickr and publishing all your pictures there. For more details follow the link to Thomas Hawk’s blog. […]

  12. Nia says:

    That is unforgivable from Flickr.

  13. Ben says:

    This is what you idiots get for buying into something where the terms and conditions are so stupid. Cry more loser. Stop supporting these practices by big corporations and the problem will go away….Well, as it is, people are sucked into more and more dubious terms and conditions. We get what we pay for.

  14. Lou Paglia says:

    unfortunate. hope that wasn’t the back-up solution, I have several friends that use Flickr Pro as their paid back-up solution for family photos etc and keep everything private. quite bad when you think you are doing back-ups and the right thing only to lose everything, even before factoring how it was done.

    Steve Rubel had a great post on trusting cloud computing and how services could just disappear. Looks like the cloud takes another hit here with regard to trust of whether your account in the cloud will exist.

  15. Mirco says:

    Well, since I keep the originals files of all my photos, moving to another services wouldn’t be much more than a time investment to upload everything again.

    But since I also own a Pro account on Flickr I would definately unleash my lawyers on Yahoo!

  16. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted? | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection (tags: archives PersonalArchiving photography) Hype: […]

  17. […] 如果你是一个 Web 2.0网站的付费用户,因为一个“莫须有”的理由被删除了帐号,包括在这个网站上的一切内容如联系人、收藏、留言等等都一同被清掉,并且不可恢复,投诉也无效,你会怎么看这个网站? […]

  18. darkmoon says:

    Hmm. I think this is a chance to have Zooomr actually build the functionality of daily backups. 😉 Of Flickr accounts. Personally, I would probably pay for it if it was done through the API.

  19. Sameer says:

    Flickr Community Guidelines state this in the “What not to do” section…

    “Don’t upload anything that isn’t yours.
    This includes other people’s photos, video and/or stuff you’ve collected from around the Internet. Accounts that consist primarily of such collections may be terminated at any time.”

    Fair enough. If Flickr has made this amply clear in their guidelines, then their action to terminate Shéhérazade’s account cannot be called completely arbitrary.

    But this also begs the question… Was Shéhérazade’s photostream “primarily” made up of photos not shot by her? Reading through relevant details here, I will assume it wasn’t. So then why the did the seemingly over-zealous admins choose to terminate the account altogether?! That’s where the arbitrary nature of Flickr’s action shows up. Bad Flickr! My commiserations to Shéhérazade.

    By the way, Heather Champ is perfectly within her rights to close off a thread if messages in it start getting abusive or the thread ends up being a flame war. The public forum is Flickr property after all. But in closing off the thread, Heather acts arbitrarily. I do not think she participated in the discussion and only closed it off after her arguments were rendered futile. Instead in two messages, she simply exercised censorship.

    That said, everyone should remember three important points about publishing photos on the internet. 1. Backup 2. Backup 3. Backup

  20. Iggy says:

    Ouch. You know a site that does NOT delete accounts? – 😉

  21. Paula says:

    Seeing as I have had multiple flickr friends go through this, and my account has vintage images as well as photos, I almost expect flickr to do this to me eventually. And I have 1,992,333 photos online, and get around 2000 views a day, many of them from yahoo search.

    Personally, I feel that we, as flickr customers (I myself have a pro account) should band together and write up a list of policies we would like flickr to consider following in this situation*. And get a signed petition ready for yahoo management. If enough of us band together, yahoo might have to consider it. And, at that point, if enough of us are mobilized, when can make the change to another service if yahoo cannot consider humane policies.

    *For instance, communicating with the account owner in question, making private photos that are in dispute, freezing an account instead of automatically deleting it…

  22. Ulrich says:

    Online communities such as flickr are overrated. True, flickr has a great collection of photographs and many members. But the *real* community is the internet itself. Anyone who likes or even loves photography can do photography and publish online with and without flickr. No problem.

    Btw. qwurky is here now:

  23. John says:

    I respectfully suggest that anyone with photos they value a lot go out and buy a NAS (network attached storage) with RAID 1+0 or RAID 5 (redundant disks in case one fails.) A good one costs about half as much as a decent lens, and you can get decent models from all of the manufacturers listed at this page: — the device will show up on your laptop or workstation as a network share. It’s well worth the investment.

    Failing that, at least do yourself a favor and buy an external USB drive and back things up. Disk is cheap, and there’s no excuse for not having _some_ sort of backup.

  24. […] Thomas Hawk – How would you feel if your Flickr account were suddenly deleted? […]

  25. Like many little things that piss me off daily, this is just another one that makes me wonder why I even bother having a Flikr account. I mean … what’s the point? So many things in general are getting ridiculous and people are just going way too far with things. Thank you for sharing this, Thomas. I am a dedicated reader and glad you are keeping people up on this type of news.

  26. […] on Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection to see how a very popular and loved Flickr member got her Flickr account deleted permanently for a seemingly unjust reason. Makes you wonder…where would you go if Flickr deleted your […]

  27. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted? | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection the point is this. Flickr should NOT be permanently deleting anyone’s account. Especially a paid account. And especially without warning. In the event that Flickr really feels that they need to delete an account, I think that they owe it to their customers to first engage in a dialog about the images. (tags: yahoo photography flickr censorship tyranny) […]

  28. We will cancel accounts of members who persistently and wilfully breach our Terms and Conditions. However we never delete images unless specifically requested to do so by the member. Their fotoLibra account can be reactivated at any time. We are astounded that a reputable company can treat its subscribers in such a manner. But they’re rich and we’re not, so maybe there’s a lesson to be learned by all of us.
    In five years we have only had to cancel one member’s account.

  29. Ranger 9 says:

    Nobody likes the guy who shouts “Epistemology!” at a lynching, but…

    … it occurs to me that, other than two quoted posts by a thread moderator, TH’s only source of information about any of this was what Shéhérazade SAYS happened, and OUR only source of information is what TH reports that Shéhérazade said.

  30. […] Flickr deleting a user’s account and all of their data due to ‘content violation’.  Not sure if the user violated the […]

  31. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted? […]

  32. AraiGodai says:

    Glad you wrote about it. I wish more media people will write about it, since you can’t protest in flickr, it gets censored. This is as serious as there can be. Deleting a paid, online identity with lots of content and networks.

    Dictatorship / censoring behavior, giving absolute power over to staff and assume they will not make mistake is just unacceptable. When you request for clarity on the issue if you can host a picture not taken by you on your account, it gets shut down. Everybody has some shots of themselves in it, so that gives staff that rights to delete if they wanted to.

    Whats more unbelievable is.. They don’t have undo function. what kind of a computer system is that?

  33. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted?One Flickr user loses her account because of apparent copyright violations. But were they really? And how do we — as consumers — see that our rights are given equal weight? […]

  34. Guliamo says:

    This is very saddening but not surprising at all considering what we know about Yahoo..
    How can we protest these things more effectively? the only language yahoo understands is “boycott”
    I have all my stuff on Picasa and hope Google takes better care of it – so far, so good. No complaints on Google.

  35. Aw Guo says:

    How can they do this!!!

  36. Rossitza says:

    Yahoo f.. up everything that it touches, I agree. Instead to fight with the people who steal pictures (I found my pictures in Spanish, Russian, etc. blogs and websites), they take it with paying customers. That’s ridiculous!

  37. thekevinmonster says:

    So what are they doing about all the fetishy / porn-loving Yahoo! Photos users who have tons and tons and tons of screen crabs and frame caps and otherwise ‘not taken by them’ pictures on Flickr, simply because the user was a Yahoo photos member and was rolled in?

    In an alternate universe, I take some fetishistic photos, and almost all of the people who ‘friend’ me are people whose photostreams consist of porn they’ve gotten elsewhere on the internet. It’s rare for someone to friend me and then have their stuff be actual photos that they took.

  38. […] Thomas Hawk is following the story of Shéhérazade who’s Flickr account that had been visited 150,000 times in the last six months, with 22 testimonials and 200 comments per image, was deleted “without any reason, and without warning”. Flickr may have been well within their right to delete the account, but it would seem that a small percentage of photos caused the entire account to be removed, and the user has no option to backup the content. […]

  39. Ghoti Greystone says:


    This is a personality problem, not a Yahoo problem nor a Flickr per se, but it falls into the greater problem, as John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902) said, of:

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    There are many so-called communities where the first people in join because of the lack of policing, but then take ownership, and turn around and police the next arrivals.

    Alternatively, some communities are:

    – free and open to all

    – multiple co-moderators

    – no banning

    … so if posters stay on topic, then their threads stay open and live in the community archives forever. But, even if you wander off topic, where your threads my get deleted by co-moderators, you yourself stay in the community — no banning! If you continue to post off topic, your new posts may get held back and get moderated, but you have multiple co-moderators to appeal to, and none have banning power. Spammers, that is, non-community members anyway, stay moderated forever, but still no time is wasted banning anyone.

    Sadly, this looks like for-pay Yahoo Flickr has over-empowered a small set of unpaid volunteers and has neglected to open the community, and community-self-management, to a continuous flow of newcomers.

    For instance, why was the Flicker staff member so afraid of an open discussion?

    Why did they close it down so quickly, or at all? I would think that even a year later, someone might have a new insight to contribute, and they should be given equivalent consideration and respect.

    Why not leave the thread open so anyone can explore to their own satisfaction?

    Why hide a discussion that Flickr member themselves are happy to have stay public?

    Why not trust Flickr members to read, or not, at their own volition, and make up their own minds themselves?

    I will never understand the desire of moderators who think that their self-assignment is to prevent visitors from having to use their own scroll-down arrow keys, as if it’s a required service to prevent group members from having to make up their own minds on what to read and pay attention to and engage, and what to skip and ignore and move on from.

    In America, such censorship is foreign. Very un-American.

    THIS is what Flickr management should fix — what any Internet community should fix.

    Wikipedia goes through this cycle all the time — deletionists rule for a while, then, after they bash each other into total dysfunction, there’s a relaxing and welcoming of new community members. Then, eventually, the new members become the new deletionists, and the cycle repeats itself.

    Of course, this goes against the “defeat the censors” attitude of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, too.

    So, who’s doing all this power grabbing?

    As cartoonist Walt Kelly said via his Pogo character:

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”

    An alternative may be to build our own WikiFlickrPedia of sorts, but the cycle will then be in our own hands, not the hands of unpaid volunteers on a paid site.

    Is there a way to win? Yes — build our own site and community and get it well connected to Google searches that matter to us. In other words, avoid any “community” where those in a position of power wield that power whimsically, especially such hierarchical communities as so often found in paid sites.

    Flickr has no constitution wherein all members are guaranteed equivalent consideration, and there is no balance of power where people who feel damaged can appeal to alternative powers. I vote to change this, but Flickr has no open forum to listen to my vote, especially when Flickr owner’s are insulated from members dialogs by staff that quash alternative voices, challenging views, and difficult challenges.

    Sadly, the imperative to provide superlative customer service is NOT part of Flickr’s contractual promise in their unilateral “terms of service”.


  40. […] after some back and forth with Flickr about whether she owned all of the photos she had uploaded. Thomas Hawk, who keeps tabs (and gets censored himself) on Flickr activities, reported “After paying for […]

  41. […] 最近爆出有用户一朝醒来,未明原因的帐号被删 ,官方更是相互推搪,群情激愤; […]

  42. […] after some back and forth with Flickr about whether she owned all of the photos she had uploaded. Thomas Hawk, who keeps tabs (and gets censored himself) on Flickr activities, reported “After paying for […]

  43. […] of Ma.gnolia home page with apology and explanation.) Thomas Hawk has been blogging occasions (one, two) where Flickr permanently deleted users accounts with little notice or negotiation. (Please […]

  44. Donuts says:

    I have picture of my wedding from ten years ago… I guess I’ll wave good-bye, huh?

  45. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted? (Thomas Hawk Digital Connection) […]

  46. Cory says:

    To Thomas Hawk:

    Agreed, Flickr should stop deleting their accounts without any reason. In fact, I wrote up a three-part rants about Flickr on my Vox blog.


  47. […] Flickr has a bad habit of deleting people’s accounts permanently without warning to the owner/user. Not only is it without warning but all images and videos that are removed with no way to recover them. Imagine posting hundreds of your pictures onto Flickr and one day signing in to find that they’re all gone. What a bitch… Here’s an article relating to this topic:… […]

  48. NJHunkguy says:

    I am suspicious about this “Terrence” person too! He set two of my Flickr accountS restricted and unsafe, when all of my photos had “NOTHING” unsafe about them!

  49. ian sadler says:

    12 Mar 09 . Flickr just deleted my account of 500 photos without warning. After contacting them I received an email informing me that it was due to breach of TOS. I asked them to restore my account temporarily in order that i could download them but was informed that entire collection deleted from server. These pics were shirtless guys (not porn!) from around the web and I was using flickr to save space on my pc. Realise now that that I am technically in breach but they should have contacted me first. I am really upset that this has happened. I looked on flickr today and found identical photos on other user accounts ! If you are current user of flickr – please back up your photos or you may lose them any day now

  50. […] You lose 4,400 Flickr photos that you don’t have backed up elsewhere. Your Flickr account is permanently deleted. Your Youtube account is deleted. Your Google Docs are edited by the wrong […]

  51. […] user’s account on Flickr was deleted without notice because of copyright issues.  The user wrote to Flickr asking about the deletion […]

  52. […] itself.  Just like Yelp’s notoriously vague behind the scene manipulations, people have cried foul to the way Flickr chooses to manage/delete accounts, with seemingly random application of […]

  53. You have a great blog here and it is Nice to read some well written posts that have some relevancy…keep up the good work 😉

  54. […] How safe are your lifestream activities? What if your emails were deleted from Google, or you Flickr account closed? […]

  55. Larry says:

    This same exact thing happened to me this week. My account was deleted with no warning whatsoever. When I queried them the email response I got cited the terms regarding posting other people’s work. Only I have never, not once, ever done that. Every image I have ever posted in my 2 years of membership is taken by me and I have all the copyrights to all of them. I have never broken any of their posted terms.

    As yet I have received no response. This is not only impacting me from all the cool stuff I was participating in online, it even impacts photography clubs I administer or have membership in (One is even called the “Flickrites”).

    I have opened a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in my state, for starters.

  56. Jim says:

    I also want to complain.i used to be a memeber of yahoo photos and had hundreds of pictures on line until they merged with flickr and yahoo phots closed.well To sum it up my account was my situation it was for in activity.but come on give me an email or you have not logged inot your account in the last so many days and if you do not your account will be deleted.well all my pictures of my baby girl have been deleted,she is 4 now, so all my baby pictures of her are gone..makes sad face.i would never use flickr ever i do agree dont use photo online as a back up,get your self a flash drive and back them all up.only use photos online for sharing..and editing the i liked yahoo phots so much better…

  57. Jim says:

    Same situation happened to me by a company called you all know who they are.Well one day I went to log in and my account was deleted and I was told not to re open an account.I emailed them back and they stated that cause I retuned to many purchases,,um yeah if i dont like what i yeah its not fun having your accounts getting deleted.been there..

  58. Jim says:

    One last thing I want to say same thing happened to me with my credit card company.they did not warn me,i had a 1200 limit.I did not use the card after i paid it off for over 6 months,and when i asked them why they did this.They refused to give me a reason..Bad Business..Companys dont care any more,and they also refused to open me up a new account.I was with them for like 2 yeah i feel for anyone who has had there accounts deleted,not just on Flickr but other companys as well.. just a heads up.I would not trust online at all,espicially for baby pictures or any pictures..back up the pictures onto a flash drive ….

  59. Почитал, порадовало 🙂 А может и действительно всегда думать только о хорошем, а все плохое отбрасывать?

  60. Will says:

    I am convinced I was targetted by Terrence Philben (Flickr) for especially nasty treatment because I am disabled. Virtually everybody I have copied in on the thread of corresponsdence between this moderator and myself is of the same opinion. A completely unique disability is all that differentiates me from all other Flickr members. Heather and her cronies are sheltering him. Why did I bother coming out about my difference just for a discriminatory sociopath to set my life back years? I am truly hurt.

    I have always had courteous, understanding service from Yahoo, who own Flickr, so I have referred it to them at CEO level. However I am not hopeful.

    Hugs, Will

  61. Gunther says:

    I lost a total of four accounts on the (F-word) photo “service.” The first one was only two months into a Pro account. No warning, no explanation. And, when I asked for a refund of the unused portion of the Pro account, they refused.

    My accounts were:
    Let Them Breathe (old comments can still be found on the site)
    Let Them Breathe99 (everything wiped out)
    Let_Them_Breathe (everything wiped out)
    Gunther99 (everything wiped out)

    My suspicion is that it only takes one person to accidentally (or purposely) hit the Report This (or whatever it was called) link and the reported account would be gone. This, of course, wouldn’t work if it was Heather’s or Terrence’s accounts that were complained about! Heaven knows that they have treated other members unfairly… counter to the Terms Of Service! It almost makes me want to open another account just so I could complain about everyone just to see how many members they lose!

    Thanks for letting me vent a bit!

  62. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted? A very bad situation. Very bad. 🙁 (tags: flickr) […]

  63. […] on Mashabe. It sounded like a fantastic idea — especially after reading horor stories of entire Flickr accounts being deleted without […]

  64. […] O alerta de Lail veio em boa hora principalmente depois que eu soube que a agência Espalhe teve o seu álbum de fotos deletado sumariamente do Flickr. Sem qualquer aviso prévio ou chance de fazer um backup mais detalhado do conteúdo que estava há anos no ar. Não é a 1ª vez que isso acontece. […]

  65. […] deleted a popular photographer’s collection. Thomas Hawk reports this eviction from start to finish. Arbitrary justifications, no notice, no appeal, no ability to restore the photos, deletion of […]

  66. Max says:

    I used Flickr pro for a year, some of my photos were mild adult/artistic and all flagged restricted by me. Then one day Flickr police decided to set the whole account restricted taking away the ability to have safe photos. I tried several times to get the account made safe without success. I now use Smugmug.

    Many times I see people ask why is Flickr so popular. The model is simple; allow adult content and the traffic gates will open for you. Flickr is loaded with thousands of accounts filled with stolen porn, how can it possibly provide sensible moderation when most of the mod time is spent attending to crap. Take away Flickr’s smut and its popularity will fall like a rock.

  67. […] Thomas Hawk made a blog post about a Flickr user who was kicked off without warning.  I initially started to […]

  68. Ken says:

    I’ve seen the accounts of several of my Flickr “friends” disappear, including a Pro account I gifted to one of them. I am not amused. I’m lucky in that most of them shared their non-Flickr email addresses with me so I can stay in touch.

    I now wonder… every time I log onto Flickr… about the photos that are used on the sign-on screen []… These images are clearly not the property of Flickr, nor were they taken by Flickr. Each image carries a Creative Commons mark and the screen name and link to the photographer’s page! Perhaps we should start complaining about the images on these member’s pages to see if Flickr deletes the accounts! How positively tempting!

  69. […] coming to my attention that the flickr abuse team are in the habit of rather arbitrarily deleting peoples accounts and all content without warning. Because of this, I am considering voting with my […]

  70. […] How Would You Feel if Your Flickr Account Were Permanently Deleted? | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection […]

  71. flickr deleted says:

    hehehehe.. sorry bro, i’m not laughing on you, but the idiot pro people on flickr. They get others banned and deleted, and then themselves become the victim some other day. It high time, people should leave flickr. Flick sucks, period. Flickr is worst dictatorship site, and they are User Generated Content!!

    Move to Picasa, move to kodakgallery, photobucker, snapfish, or anywhere.. pay money or stay free, but stay away from flickr. Otherwise here is the guarantee: Your account will be deleted without a zilch of thought. No, no, don’t expect any mails or notification before that. You get to know only wen u log in.

    Quit Flickr

  72. flickr deleted says:

    We can neither form a petition (as ppl in thread above talked) nor can we create some good unity among people.. best is to act on individual level. Just delete your account (or leave it stale if u don’t bother) and switch to google. Even free picasa account is as powerful as flickr 24.99 $ account.

    Quit Flickr ->
    switch to other sites ->
    Spread the word to anyone on internet in photography

  73. On the subject of self-hosting for galleries: I tried tons of software for that, and the best I’ve found is actually WordPress + the NextGen Gallery plugin. It supports galleries, albums, tags, albums via tag and auto-creates an rss feed for your images. Since it’s integrated into WordPress, you can run your blog on the same site, and have access to WordPress’s plugins and themes.

    After trying about 5 or 6 of the alternatives first, I now use WordPress/NextGen Gallery. If you’re planning on self-hosting, it’s definitely worth a try.

  74. John Hammer says:

    The real issue here is the Computer NERDS built something that is COOL and now they are getting back at all the people that used to pick on them in High School.

  75. fototaker says:

    i had an email from flickr saying my photostream was “upgraded” to moderate due to a complaint on my stream fotos. NOBODY has ever complained about my imagery – no use. they didnt even bother to say what was so offensive! now i find visitors to my PAID PRO account cant see pixs – not even simple portraits…. and i cannot post a pix to flickr groups and i belonged to 300+ groups in such themes as landscapes, lighthouses, cityscapes, sunsets, and more. i originally paid for two years and the first year is NOT even expired. i have a remaining year at flickr already paid off and those a$$holes wont refunded that unused portion. so i deleted my account voluntarily and have yelped of their stupid practices, and have blogged it too. i wish someone would sue the hell out of them and they have to close down permanently. they were good before, but now they are plain stupid. grrrrr

  76. Lenny says:

    Same thing happened to me last year, and Heather Champ banned me from the help forum for daring to say the new home page sucked.

    Heather and Terrence seem to be the worst of the bunch, but they are all twats with huge egos.

    I’ve tried in the past to get people together on this…to no avail.

    I called Yahoo about this 4 times, they keep referring me to flickr help which I can no longer access. Even if you do, Terrence will just tell you that your photos don’t belong to you and shut you down.

    Terrence expressed to me in emails (which I still have copies of) a specific bias and nastiness….but NO ONE at Yahoo will listen.

    If enough people began complaining to their credit card companies about FRAUD like I did when they deleted my first account 1 month after I renewed it…..then something would start to happen.

    I urge everyone pissed off at flickr to start calling Yahoo and bitching about it.

    I lost all my photos from yahoo when they deleted my acct.

    I can never get most of them back.

    And I PAID for the privilege of having Terrence delete me!!

  77. Lenny says:

    Hi everybody!

    Doing some serious research on this Terrence dirtbag and I have found quite a bit on him from my contacts in California.

    His full name is Terrence Philben
    he may still be associated with Tech Republic Inc (not sure, but he did work there)
    235 2nd Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105-3124

    He is a nasty little troll this Terrence is…from what I can see of him in his other sites that he is on. His flickr site is restricted, you must get his permission to see his photos, gee, I wonder why?

    Anyway, to all you people who have been treated unfairly by this dirt bag Terrence, PLEASE….do what I am doing:

    I am writing a real letter that will be sent registered to their HQ in California, I am going to not only explain to them what happened to me, but I am sending them copies of the nasty emails Terrence sent me on flickr. Then I will tell them I am seriously considering leaving Yahoo completely.

    Make sure you tell them that the Terms of Service are so vague that anyone could be deleted without warning, and that Terrence has a tendency to pick on “certain” people only. Also mention CREDIT CARD FRAUD, and report your complaint to your credit card company as well.


    Let’s bring this little dirt bag down!

    701 First Ave
    Sunnyvale, CA 94089
    (408) 349-3300

  78. […] Flickr deletes another account […]

  79. WhoCares says:

    Just came across this post and can’t help but wonder why this is such a big deal? Why not post your photos on your own website? Flickr sucks anyways. Never understood why people post their favorite flickr pics on their websites anyway. I mean whats the point? Does it help your website in anyway or do you really think I care what your favor pics are? Stupid.

  80. WhoCares says:

    besides, every time we type there name on this post it only helps their rank in the search engines. So get smart and use “fuckers” instead

  81. John Francis says:

    I read all the above.

    But am I the only member of flickr canned by this mod because I am handicaped? I was aware of some sexually challenged guy who claimed to have suffered much like me.

    The problem is not one of ruthlessness but of gutter mentality, bad parenting and no moral fibre. This attitude is the very dogma our grandparents fought against in the 1939/45 war.

    Terrence Philben is living proof that we have our own terrorists. The chief moderator is clearly spawned in the same gutter.

  82. The Son Of Heaven…

    …a good post over at . . ….

  83. Marcjon Louwers says:

    I guess it’s a bit of a technicality, but from their point of view she was breaking the rules. so what is there to whine about?

  84. […] Your Flickr account is permanently deleted. […]

  85. […] You lose 4,400 Flickr photos that you don’t have backed up elsewhere. Your Flickr account is permanently deleted. Your Youtube account is deleted. Your Google Docs are edited by the wrong […]

  86. josh says:

    I honestly believe that flickr dose this to help alleviate server demands. think about it. Every so often they go through and delete any one that gives even the slights justification, and now there’s room for new members with out buying more sever space. Other wise why wouldn’t they engage in some kind of conversation with the user they want to delete especially in cases like this where ten photos out of hundreds weren’t taken by the user. Especially when there is a strong possibility they have the rights to post it.

  87. Sarah says:

    I’m another flickr’s victim. My photostream and my contacts were disappared without warning. I had only snapshots from a virtual game, secondlife. The photos were all about my creations (fashion accessories). No nudity or violence, only common common common photos. I don’t understand really “why”. And i was a pro account. I never had a discussion with a flickr members or joined the forum. Never.

  88. lecca,lecca says:

    the curious thing is, that a couple of friends had photos lifted from there flickr stream, and posted on others as the account holders own work, and when they complained to flickr – nothing was done at all.

  89. Chapman62918 says:

    Well I fell a victim to the Flickr Deletion today… almost (3) years of my time, effort, and lose of photos I can never replace… I have been a paid pro account since the new opening of flickr.. Funny thing at the start of Flickr I was told I must transfer all my photos from my old Yahoo Photo account or they would be deleted.. No real specific details at that time and they where the ones that uploaded all my photos to their site… Then I received an e-mail that stated that I had to remove the photos that did not belong to me or be deleted.. I had thousands of photos and requested time to complete this as well as more specific instructions.. Never received anything back other than something about they could not review until completion of deleted photos. It took me years to compile the collection and they expected me to go through each photo in a few days.

    Well its all gone now! Funny I had paid my pro account (2) years in advance. Does that not count for somthing? A company just deletes all your work. What about a refund in my advance payment? A company can just keep your money? Could Flickr not suspend your use of your account until your back in compliance to their so call rules? When reviewing your account they have to see something that makes that determination of being in violation. Can they not just tell you what that specific photo, comment, etc is? I will not ever use flickr again, nor will I keep Yahoo as my home page! I’m done with them!

  90. Jon says:

    My account has been deleted…. No idea why or what for… suddenly just gone…

  91. I think that we should boycot Flickr, all of the other providers like Yahoo and now adobe lightroom who are catering to Flickr should know of our disatisfaction with there policies. I didn’t know about Flickr Pro, i am kind of glad i had the run in with these flukrs before I got that far. This is my responce from their accusation of my images being too commercial and infringing upon their commercial terms…
    Dear Support,
    Actually come to think of it, Please go ahead and remove my flickin account. That way I won’t get flickin obscure emails from flickin pissants (a flickin French word for a small ant). Flickr is obviously not flickin worthy of my flickin works of art to be displayed on your flickin site. Especially considering that behance network, modelmahem and actually flickin begged me to display on their flickin websites. Your flickin loss as my friends and I will use 5 other better flickin sites than


  92. Jeff says:

    my contact on flickr was deleted! Idk why but I’m sure he behaved well. No reasons!

  93. Italo says:

    I experienced a deletion of a very dear friend Redhead66* Marla, without any warning. She had a pro account. I have this observation on the matter.

    We are in Flickr everybody sharing our photos, our thoughts our passions, our loves like humans do. And those Flickereeons (just pay attention to the word…) are deleting one year of relationships in one shot. Without any warning, without any trial….
    Is that something that can be related to democracy or instead to oppression and tyranny?
    There is no point on saying that there are rules… which rules? the one related to the property of the photos? But this can’t authorise to throw more than one year of life in this way, without any warning.
    I am going to reach the conclusion that in this bad situation there are two bad actors: That silly Flickereeons and all of us, which are remitting our feelings to this SHIT of people

  94. This just happened to me as well. My Flickr account was only 3 months old but I had put some hours of work into it. I’m a stock photographer. I put a link in each image description to my blog. Some of the images had a short sentence like “To purchase this at high resolution visit my blog…”

    So I was in essence violating their no commercial use policy. I was also very active in the community and had gathered contacts, groups, etc.

    My account was deleted with no warning about a week ago. No email. No explanation. I went to log in and I was gone.

    Figuring that my commercial references were to blame I wrote to customer service and asked why certain very high profile members have been allowed to do this in their Photostreams for years.

    4 days later this is what I got:

    In joining Flickr, our members agree to abide by the Yahoo!
    Terms of Service and the Flickr Community Guidelines:

    “Don’t vent your frustrations, rant, or bore the brains out
    of other members.
    Flickr is not a venue for you to harass, abuse,
    impersonate, or intimidate others. If we receive a valid
    complaint about your conduct, we’ll send you a warning or
    terminate your account.”

    Your account was brought to our attention through Report
    Abuse. Upon review, we determined that your content and/or
    behavior was in violation and your account was terminated.


    Flickr Staff

    What!!! I was ranting, harassing and abusing other members? Says who? I can assure you I did no such thing. Every day I commented nicely on a few images. “This is beautiful! Keep up the good work” or “I love your treatment of this with HDR” blah blah blah.

    The customer service person just simply made something up to get me out their hair!

  95. Will says:

    I think you guys are too harsh on Heather. When Philben targeted me in mid-2009, in the end Heather stepped in and I was back online again, fully. Now she has left, the closet Klansman is now head moderator. So I am the only member of Flickr who is refused an account review under all circumstances. Coincidence?

    This neo-Nazi is maliciously destroying thousands of people’s lives. He has successfully excluded people from society on grounds of discrimination. Philben’s position is like putting Rudolf Mengele in charge of a Brit Milah circumcision. He is Hitler, DFMalan, DCStephenson and Matthew Hopkins all wrapped up in one monster.

    And there is nothing we can do. How many of you stupidly say, “close your Flickr account and go elsewhere” Where? Shutterfly? Snapfish? Kodakgallery?

    Rubbish. Flickr is unique. It is the only photosharer that is at the same time a social networker. On those other networks, your photos are locked away in a box! You cannot search other users with like interests and they cannot search you. You have to know them before you meet them. On Flickr you can meet new friends.

    Only Ipernity is a genuine alternative. Being Eurpopean it lacks the American inbred cultural hatred and bullying of anyone different. Alas it is too small.

    Philben has taken inhuman persecution to new levels of lawlessness. He has banned us from making friends.

    I only wish Heather would come back!

  96. Yasuri Yamileth says:

    Heather was horrible to me, just plain awful. She is heartless, evil, vile, souless, corporate robot hack. I had to delete all my street photography from my photostream or face the deletion of my account. I was so upset and as a paying customer who loved the site I tried to talk to them, I wanted to know the specifics of my case. What was offensive and why was it considered offensive, I even asked if the “offensive” content could be made private on my photostream, but I was told that even if I did that they would still delete my account.

    Suffice it to say that I rarely post anymore. I was wondering the other day if I should start posting more, other work than street photography, but in my heart I know that I can’t continue to support this company. Had I been allowed to make my photos private for my and my contacts to see, then I might have felt better about the whole thing.

    As it stands now, I am pretty much done with Flickr. I haven’t found an alternative site yet though 🙁

  97. Will says:

    Damn I posted something here yesterday and it’s disappeared. I wanted to check something I wrote.

    Anyone know what happened to it?


  98. Paul says:

    I just got deleted…..All my pictures were marked as restricted and had actually been checked three times over the last two years and deemed safe. So much for their own censorship.I had about 1000 pictures on there and over 2 million views. They are all gone now.
    I could not work for such a heartless company that just deletes peoples work comments and friends.

  99. Mike Owen says:

    “One of the most famous and respected streams in the whole flickr.”

    Seriously? Someone suffers from a little USI.

  100. […] Responds By Deleting the User’s Account Without Warning Image by Thomas Hawk Last week I blogged about a Flickr user Shéhérazade who without warning saw her self moderated account get p… The user was upset about this because they thought that they were abiding by all of the Flickr […]

  101. […] the User’s Account Without Warning Image by Thomas Hawk Last week I blogged about a Flickr user Shéhérazade who without wa… The user was upset about this […]

  102. jason nolan says:

    Time for me to back up my account and abandon flickr. I’ve paid for years. I have 5000+ photos and 250k views. I bring 50-100 students to flickr every year. Let me check google’s policy on deleting stuff.

  103. flickr deleted my account just before Christmas. I was getting over 200,000 hits per month. Last April it was reviewed and they said it was fine. I add more material of the same type, mainly street photography that tends to be more like portraiture somewhat in the spirit of Garry Winogrand and Vivian Maier. They mark the account moderate and send me a misleading email about nudity. I ask for another review because there was no nudidy. Next day the account is gone and they say they warned me. Yeah, a pass everything is OK eight months ago is their idea of a warning. Fortunately, I have all the original raw files, but almost everything had to be edited again. 550 images, 1400 contacts, the works were gone forever.

    The only way to correct this situation is to find an alternative. deepa is doing something interesting with her new blog where she is allowing guest galleries. Perhaps we should exit en masse to a single destination like wordpress,com or whatever. There are all sorts of ways to host photos, but only flickr has the community (unless you want to include facebook where they steal your rights).

    As for Heather, she has a reputation for rudeness and cutting off discussion whenever the issues get difficult. I really don’t think that she or Terrance are the source of the problem. It is somewhere higher up, probably at Yahoo.

  104. […] une utilisatrice (que l’on peut qualifier de populaire), s’est fait fermer son compte flickr pro sans raison valable et sans avertissement. Ce n’est pas réversible et la censure est devenue […]

  105. cassi_lynn says:

    My pics too were deleted, and flikr gave me the run around,and said pics could not be deleated. I am going to talk with an attorney to see If I can sue them for invasion of my privacy and going into my private account and deleating my photos.I have also heard that photos that were of adult nature are being sold to the adult entertainment industry. And as Far as them saying once trhey delate pictures they are gone forever tghat is bull**** unless they are using a dept of defence type of shredder to destroy files!! I urge all persons whom flikr has done this too to contact someone for help!

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  107. Lee says:

    Ive had this happen to me…..twice. Both times I was a pro member to. That’s when I decided to leave flickr for good. Flickr is a horrible place. They’re only out for themselves and treat everyone the same no matter how long they have been a member with them. They will simply delete your account without any prior warning or notice.

    Also, the site admins are bad and offer little to no support to their clients whatsoever.

    Im not the only person who has been screwed over by them. For example, Just last year, this one girl from japan who had been a flickr user for almost five years. She had well over 10000 pictures in her photostream and was very well recognized thru out the flickr community. Her works were very vivid, professional and artistic. Well, Flickr ended up deleting her account and all her pictures. Thats right, 10000+ pictures all gone in an instant! She got her account restored later but not her photos. Apparently she violated a copyright TOS by uploading her OWN pictures that she originally had posted on her OWN separate blog page to her flickr page. She was outraged and I dont blame her. Especially because those were her own pictures and not stolen media! She ended up moving her stuff to picasa web and has encouraged her family and friends to switch with her. I will do the same to since webshots and photobucket also suck.

    So to all you current flickr users out there, Be careful. They’re like coiled cobras ready to strike at you any time.