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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flickr Censorship Standards = Gay Bashing?

Update 1: See also SML Wiki: Flickr Censorship for my complete report of the incidence, together with screenshots, examples, and all my email exchange with the Flickr staff.

Cross-posted on SML Gay Blog.

Earlier this year, Flickr popped my account to "restricted" status, resulting in a 4000 to 200 daily stream views.

SML to Flickr: Why is my stream flagged as moderate? = Severely diminished traffic volume (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

It took me 6 months to figure out what the hell was wrong. I didn't get a reply from the official staff despite several attempts to contact them. Eventually I got so pissed off that I did a Twitter stunt and posted a long-winded outcry on That appears to help, I got a reply from the Flickr staff within one day.

Apparently, according to Flickr standards, the image below is to be treated as restricted.

An R-rated image as according to Flickr Censorship standards / 20070624.10D.43162.BW.SQ / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Personally I do not understand why this image is restricted (aka x-rated in Flickr sphere). Afterall, don't you see guys like this *all the time*?

Flickr replied by saying that the image needs to be restricted because the person is wearing "skin-tight" clothing. I then asked them if I took photos at the Olympics or at the beach, do I need to mark them as restricted as well, to which they reply, that "regardless of where they were taken, they need to be moderated."

In other words, according to Flickr Censorship standards, this will only appear in an R-rated movie. Meanwhile, the Yahoo Pride page during 2007 happily use my photos on their site, so WTF?!

As such the image above is flagged as moderate as well. Even though I disagree with Flickr's standards...

One thing to note, also, is that the image below, which was taken at a skydiving event, was considered OK to Flickr. The only difference is that the guy above is gay and the guy below is straight.

20070811.10D.44748.BW (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Anyhow, SML Flickr is now "safe" after flagging all these images to moderate to restricted status, but this standard appears questionable.

Related blogosphere
+ Now Public: flickr: Racist and Homophobic, or Scamming?
+ Thomas Hawk: Someone's started a Flickr Is Fascist Blog, Accuses Flickr of Anti-Gay Censorship Policies

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