Flickr has threatened to terminate my account

Remember the first time?

Forbes: Flickr Censors Violet Blue (2007)

Below is the email I got from Flickr, and below that is my response to Flickr. I am open to any and all suggestions.

September 11, 2013


In joining Flickr, you agreed to abide by the Terms of
Service and Community Guidelines:

URL links from your profile page or photostream to a
website/blog that has nude/adult content is a violation of
the Flickr Community Guidelines and Yahoo! Terms of Service.

We ask that you please remove all URLs that are in violation
of the Community Guidelines.

If we continue to see inappropriate activity in your
account, we will take further action that may include
termination without another warning.


Flickr Staff

September 15, 2013

Hi Flickr support,

You have not provided me with the specific alleged violation or a timeline for action.

I ask that you do so.

In 2007, Flickr’s general manager Stewart Butterfield responded to alleged violation of Flickr’s Community Guidelines, went through every page in my account, and personally approved of every visible page. Butterfield apologized for the problem, which was on Flickr’s side.

My profile page – and the links there now – were included in his approval.

Thomas Hawk: “Violet Blue has published an email she received from Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield regarding the recent censorship/moderation of her (…)”

In 2010, Flickr once again notified me alleging that I was in violation of its Community Guidelines. Once again, Flickr was incorrect and admitted its mistake.

My account was flagged as “screen shot” and Flickr’s 5-year Community Manager Heather Champ informed me that because there were previous “warnings” (Flickr’s 2007 mistake) on my account, I received the harshest penalty.

Upon review, Ms. Champ stated that one image in my account would be in violation of the content moderation policy, though she did not state that this image was the reason my account was flagged. However, the image had been personally approved to be marked as Ms. Champ found it by Mr. Butterfield.

Flickr had officially, publicly approved the item – as well as my profile page, which is now in question.

Ms. Champ apologized and restored my account. Ms. Champ also personally, officially took the time to approve the content and settings of every page in my account. Ms. Champ restored my account.

Three years later, at present, I have received your notification now that Flickr intends to terminate – not suspend – my account despite the fact that it had approved of the page in question multiple times by its Management.

I am happy to provide case numbers and .pdf copies of all my email exchanges from Mr. Butterfield and Ms. Champ.

I can only assume that since the profile page has been previously approved and the links unchanged, that this action by Flickr is a response to either Community abuse against me from within the system, or somehow related to reporting I have recently done for CBS Interactive about Flickr’s parent company, Yahoo. The reporting triggered global negative press, and prompted at least one Yahoo property to change its policies and issue an apology to its users.

I will be publishing this email and your notice. I ask:

* Please put me in touch with Flickr PR so I may reach out to Flickr for comment as press for an upcoming article on this issue: my timeline for publication is Tuesday September 17, 8am PST.

* Please provide me with a copy of Flickr’s cancellation and refund policies.

Violet Blue

Flickr’s email was sent to me while I was trying to get through Istanbul as embassies were being emptied and I had to connect with the US State Department over its safety warnings in regard to my travel, and then got stuck in New York whilst re-entering the country under extreme security. I did not see it until yesterday.

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  1. The internet is basically a popularity contest of sorts.

    A strident few can organize and campaign to ban your account, and if that’s all the moderators are hearing/seeing, they delete your account, just to silence the complaints.

  2. Back in 2007 when those of us using Yahoo Photos were told we had to migrate over to Flickr I did so. Moving my collection of photography as well as some photos which I had found online and liked and saved in my Yahoo Photos account. It was just a way for me to direct folks to an online place to see my work. Then I lost the hard drive I had been stupid enough not to back up that contained the majority of my photography. Thank goodness it was all on Flickr.

    Then Flickr deleted my entire account. No warning, none at all, no chance to recover any of my photos. Apparently some of my photographs which had been just fine on Yahoo Photos violated Flickr’s community guidelines. I lost everything that was on Flickr, they wouldn’t even reopen my account for my view only so that I could retrieve my work. I have never gone back to Flickr and I never will.

    So Violet, why the hell are you still using their service when this is the second time they have harassed you? Go elsewhere they obviously don’t want your business so don’t give it to them. If you lose what you have stored there, well don’t say you weren’t warned.

  3. It really is getting to the point where self-hosting really is the only sensible option, even with services you pay for.

    Sorry to hear Flickr are being such arses again. They used to be one of the good guys (a very long time ago).

    – Neil.

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