Sunday, March 20, 2022

Changes at Flickr - and compliance with Online Safety changes

I know a lot of artists have stored their images online on Flickr in the past - often using a free account. 

HOWEVER for all those with a free account, you need to know a few things about what's changing - summarised below.

Flickr forever: Creating the safest, most inclusive photography community on the planet.
MARCH 17, 2022

Three days ago, Flickr announced on its blog that there are going to be changes.  

You can read more about this - in detail - in Flickr forever: Creating the safest, most inclusive photography community on the planet. (17th March 2022)

The changes 

Flickr forever: click here to learn how free accounts are changing for the long-term growth and health of our community.
The overall emphasis is on 
  • restricting content which can be held privately and 
  • encouraging people to subscribe to Pro accounts.

The changes announced this week are:

Non-public photo limits - for those with FREE accounts

we’re limiting free accounts to 50 non-public photos (e.g. photos marked as private, friends, family, or friends and family. Read more about privacy settings on Flickr here).
In other words, if you've never paid for your Flickr account, you now risk losing ALL but 50 (FIFTY) of the images you've uploaded which are not public for all.

If you want a safe place to store your photos which you do NOT want to be public, you will need to upgrade to a PRO membership - where you get unlimited storage for a monthly, annual or biannual sum. 

Guess what - the most expensive is monthly and the best value is buy two years at a time.

As they point out this announcement about deleting images may sound familiar
In 2018 we announced that free accounts containing over 1,000 photos and/or videos would have content actively deleted. In the years since, we haven’t deleted a single photo that was over the limit. Not ONE.
What they're saying now is that you can upload lots and lots of images - but all but 50 must be public. Otherwise they will be deleted.

So don't say you weren't warned!

Restricted and Moderate Content

It's good to see that Flickr is stepping up to the mark and, I think, BEGINNING to anticipate upcoming legislative change for all major social media content platforms.

This change relates to Moderate and Restricted Content - something a lot of people who upload ignore.

Flickr's definitions of Safety Levels are relate to both content and the account which uploaded the content - and are as follows


  • Safe - Acceptable to a global, public audience
  • Moderate - Partial nudity, like bare breasts and bottoms
  • Restricted - full-frontal nudity and sexual acts; photos only – videos cannot contain restricted content and are deleted if reported


  • Safe - All items have been correctly categorized (default setting)
  • Moderate - One or more moderate item is incorrectly categorized as safe
  • Restricted - One or more restricted item is miscategorized as safe or moderateNote that the Account Level can only be changed by Flickr Staff
The good news is that
We’re rolling out changes to Flickr that welcome all photographers to discover, share, and interact with photography, period. Photographers who craft and create work that might be considered risqué by some will have a safe place online to interact with one another, share mutual interests, and put their art into the world without the fear of it being removed or them being banned entirely from the communities they love.
There's a implied BUT.....
we’ve been lax in truly defining a space for these (restricted and moderate content) photographers, until now. To support these creators, and ensure that their communities continue to thrive, the ability to share restricted and moderate content will be reserved for Flickr Pro members. 

I'd agree they've been lax - but I'm not sure the proposed change is going to work. 

I have a Pro Account but I certainly don't want my photostream flooded with risque images! 

I always use the SafeSearch filter - but that's absolutely no guarantee that the wrong sort of images get through because the moderation is poor quality at the moment.  That's even if you set it such that you should NOT be seeing anything risque.

Flickr Safe Search refinements available.

I think they need to work MUCH, MUCH harder on moderation. They cannot leave it all up to the Flickr members. They will in future (see below) be seen as responsible - and it will cost them if they get it wrong.

For example, 

  • there are photos rated as "Safe" which are emphatically NOT
  • there is absolutely no scope to flag them as being incorrectly categorised - and the reasons why.
There are also photos which might have deemed acceptable a decade ago as "safe" - but not in today's world - particularly in the context of a "me too" generation.

Past Changes

In brief, changes in the past have focused on containing what is possible with a Free Account and enhancing what's available for Pro accounts - plus beginning to get to grips with better moderation.

So these have included, for example

Future Changes

To my mind, that's happening now is what should have happened years ago. However it doesn't meet the requirements of contemporary global platforms in future

For example, I don't see what's been done to date as meeting the requirements of the upcoming changes in the UK - see World-first online safety laws introduced in Parliament

Life's is about to get much tougher for those who will, in future, be seen as responsible for the content they publish.  

All the commentary I've seen so far suggests that the platforms will need to start employing a lot more people to catch offending content and get it off the platform.

Plus it will hurt their 'bottom line' if they don't step up to the mark.
The Online Safety Bill marks a milestone in the fight for a new digital age which is safer for users and holds tech giants to account. It will protect children from harmful content such as pornography and limit people’s exposure to illegal content, while protecting freedom of speech.

It will require social media platforms, search engines and other apps and websites allowing people to post their own content to protect children, tackle illegal activity and uphold their stated terms and conditions.

The regulator Ofcom will have the power to fine companies failing to comply with the laws up to ten per cent of their annual global turnover, force them to improve their practices and block non-compliant sites.

The major confusion is going to cover recognised works of art in public view in reputable art galleries and museums. For example......
Une Odalisque (1814) by Jean Auguste Domininque Ingres (1780-1867)
- as photographed by me in the Louvre in September 2009

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