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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Censorship? Bad PR? Or just a misstep?

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


I've been watching the Flickr thread about what's happening with their German service with interest.

Flickr has been the subject of several accusations of censorship recently. At least with US accounts they've moved fairly quickly, though sometimes it has taken an outcry among users to get something to happen.

The issue (as I understand it) is that Flickr Germany accounts are being blocked from viewing pictures with a "Moderate" or "Restricted" tag. The issue is apparently Yahoo's interpretation of a German law that could make them responsible for any content that minors can view - even if they don't post the content. I think it's a bit more complicated than that, as 20+ pages of discussion bear out.

It took nearly two days for someone from Flickr to post an explanation that wasn't the equivalent of "no comment" to the thread.

My question is this: Yahoo has had a German presence (in their search engine and probably other services) for some time. Why weren't the able to deal with this issue better?

Apparently Yahoo's stockholders presented a resolution on censorship to the board of directors which was defeated. Zooomr has responded by adopting this resolution themselves. The comments trail is interesting. I applaud Zooomr for taking this stand, but I wonder how it will work out down the road. There are issues involved with having your site available to certain countries. Witness Google and Yahoo's issues with China. I suspect that, down the road, compromises may have to be made. But at least they're trying to do the right thing and they're making an attempt to respond quickly to customer concerns.

For my own part, I'm still trying to decide whether or not to get a Pro account with Flickr or even if I want to stay there. I'd been investigating Yahoo Pictures because unlimited hosting on that service came as part of my ISP account. I wasn't happy with the look and feel of that service, and now that the two are being merged there's no mechanism (except to get a Pro account) to keep unlimited hosting. It's not that I'm cheap; I just want to be sure I'm going to get the features I'm paying for and that they're worth the money. If that makes me cheap, then so be it.

Anyway, I'll be interested to see how this all plays out.

Tags: , , ,
Filed under: Photography   Censorship   Flickr   Zoooomr   
6/15/2007 10:42:06 AM
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