Flickr has always had rules about the safety levels of photos on it’s platform, regardless of whether you are a free user or a Pro user of their service. They describe the levels as such:
- 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.
The main issue many Second Life bloggers and photographers have is that that the rules have not been specific enough. For e.g. the description “like bare breasts and bottoms” is vague. What if the breasts have a semi sheer material or lace where if you look closely parts of a nipple can been seen? Most of us have chosen to err on the side of caution after seeing many of our community getting caught out by this rather subjective and vague rule.
Flickr is now withdrawing the option for a free account to use Flickr for anything other than safe photos. While that clarifies the issue for free users of the service it still leaves the difference between a safe, moderate or restricted photo vague for Pro users who can utilise those options.
The other change affects private photos. This is unlikely to affect a lot of Second Life free users of the Flickr service as the majority rarely use the private option as the object for most is to share their work with the largest audience possible. Free accounts will be restricted to only have 50 photos set to private or risk losing their account.
What do you need to do if you are using a free account?
- Firstly make the decision if you can upgrade to a Pro account. It’s honestly the easiest and quickest solution but in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis affecting large parts of Europe and the US and, I am sure other countries too, it may not be feasible as a cost.
- If you are going to continue with a free Flickr account you will likely have to bring your account into line with the new terms of service soon. That means checking your portfolio for any moderate or restricted content and removing the photos.
- If you have a free account and it has been marked as restricted or moderate by Flickr and you have opted not to go through the process of getting your account back to safe you should do that now. Click here for information on how to do that.
- Flickr says it will contact all affected users. Make sure they have a current email address to contact you on and check your flickr mail regularly.
There’s been a lot of talk of these changes being triggered by the Second Life community and being a direct ‘attack’ on Second Life photographers. I do not hold that view. While we are a large community within Flickr we are by no means the major users of free accounts. it’s true that some users of Flickr in the photography world do have some elitist views on what should or shouldn’t be on the platform, and would like to see the back of our digital/virtual art. But I don’t think that is the view of Flickr themselves. With the growth of the metaverse and virtual worlds likely to increase, I think they are more likely to be future proofing their business model to accommodate all types of art and photography.
There have been calls for a specific virtual world version of Flickr but this was tried a couple of years ago and wasn’t successful. The reason we use Flickr for promotion of our blogs, stores, events etc is because there is a large community of Second Life residents using it. We are not using Flickr to simply store our portfolios of work or provide a download of our work to another person like a dropbox. We are using it as a promotion tool. Flickr want us to pay for that benefit. It’s important for us to remember that not everyone can do that. I have already seen blogger managers and designers relaxing rules around the use of Flickr and I am sure that will continue too.
I’m showing off my avatar today in the scene that I blogged yesterday featuring Concept and Since 1975 at the Arcade and I’m wearing Belle Epoque’s Crazy Cat Lady robe which is also at The Arcade.
*Head – LeLutka – EVO X Avalon
*Face Skin – Glam Affair – Barbara
*Body Skin – VELOUR – Ipanema
Tattoo – DAPPA – Iskra Tattoo
Nails – Alme – Stiletto Nails
Rings 1 – ~~ Ysoral ~~ .: Luxe Wedding Ring Diana
Septum – (Yummy) Astrid Septum Ring
*Hair – Truth – Friday