Washington State Firefighter “Fireman Johnny” Has His Account Deleted by Flickr
I was disappointed this weekend to learn that a friend of mine and fellow DMU member “Fireman Johnny” had his long-standing Flickr account of 5 years deleted without warning by Flickr Friday night.
Johnny is a Washington State firefighter who was very active in our DMU group where he could always be counted on to tell us great stories about what real life as a firefighter was like. In addition to being active in our DMU group, Johnny also administered two other groups on Flickr. One that warned about the dangers of drinking and driving and another “The Brave Soldiers and the families who support them” which was a central place for military families to come talk about issues. Now that Johnny’s been deleted, he can no longer administer this group which was very important to him and a number of families of American soldiers who went there for support.
Johnny’s as genuine a guy as they come.
So why did Flickr nuke Johnny’s account?
This is Flickr’s official answer back to him:
Flickr account “Fireman Johnny” was deleted by Flickr staff for violating our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.
# Do play nice.
We’re a community of many types of people, who all have the right to feel comfortable and who may not think what you think, believe what you believe or see what you see. So, be polite and respectful in your interactions with other members.
# 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.
DMU group discussion titled “NEW! Level 3 Sexual Offender Moves In Nearby…Oh how charming!”
The thread referenced by Flickr has also been deleted from Flickr now as well.
And what was the thread about?
Johnny was upset that a level 3 sex offender (the worst 3% of all offenders) with previous convictions for child molestation had moved into his neighborhood next to a school. Johnny was upset by this and so he posted a thread about this in DMU on Flickr along with the molester’s *publicly available information* from a state run sex offender registry. The registry is public information and anyone can access it here.
The registry has no stipulation against sharing or republishing the information and in fact even has a “tell a friend” button right on the form where you can put in a friend’s email address and have the entry sent to them automatically.
In the thread Johnny never threatened anyone. He simply posted the public info sheet on this sex offender (freely available to anyone on the internet) and then talked about his frustration with the situation in his neighborhood. But apparently he violated Flickr’s policy against “venting ones frustrations online.”
Because Flickr has no undo account deletion, Johnnys 5-year account is now permanently erased.
Fireman Johnny has started a new Flickr account as Firefighter Johnny, but unfortunately his previous five years, including all his photos and entire digital existence on Flickr have been wiped completely off of planet Flickr.
I quite honestly don’t know what to do about these reckless and random account deletions that seem to be happening more and more frequently on Flickr. If Fireman Johnny can be deleted, any of us can be deleted. Being upset about a level 3 sex offender and posting about it on Flickr absolutely should not get your account deleted. Johnny was upset that this guy moved into his neighborhood right by an elementary school. That’s a natural reaction. He shared his upsetting news in a thread on Flickr and whamo, the Flickr police nuked his account right out from underneath him.
Another DMU brother hits the dust, and a good one at that.
Blake Irving, if you really care about Flickr like you claimed Friday in your tweet, you’ll fix this mess.
Account deletions should not be immediate, permanent and irrevocable. If we invest thousands of hours of our online lives into Flickr we *deserve* an appeal process. We *deserve* due process before our digital lives are deleted. We *deserve* an opportunity to take self-corrective action before you nuke us out of existence.
We entrust you with our digital lives. Have some respect for the content we bring to Flickr. Have some basic human decency. Because without our content your Flickr is nothing. Flickr only works because of our generosity in sharing our content. Acknowledge that and show us some respect.
Why couldn’t you have just told Johnny that you had a problem with his thread and that if he didn’t delete it you’d nuke him? Why couldn’t you have just nuked the thread and left his account alive? Why destroy a 5-year account, his administration of other important groups and his whole digital life on Flickr?
Johnny didn’t deserve this. Thanks for making Flickr a little bit safer for child molesters and a little bit more hostile and fearful for the rest of us Yahoo.
Nice work indeed Flickr!