Flickr Installs Filters In Germany

    June 15, 2007

Earlier this week, we learned that Flickr had started supporting seven new languages.  Unfortunately, news has now come that Flickr is “filtering” – not censoring, mind you – content in several of those tongues.

Flickr Says No To German Photos
Flickr Says No To German Photos

Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, is using the same defense its parent company used regarding China: Don’t blame us, we’re just obeying local laws.  And, as you might have guessed, Flickr’s blocks are in effect in China.  Korea, too.  Yet, according to the LAist’s Malingering, some unexpected examples of filtering have occurred.

“Flickr’s filtering system has now prevented users from Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong or Korea from viewing any photos considered ‘unsafe,’” she writes.  “Compounding this problem is the fact that the filter system has so many glitches in it, that even photos of dogs and kittens can be considered ‘restricted content.’”

A bit of humorous commentary then follows: “Oh Germany.  Here we tried so hard to get past the whole ‘Hitler’ thing and then we were so proud of you for tearing down your big ol’ wall, but now you come up with this and we have to be worried all over again.  You can’t spit in public in Singapore, so they’re obviously more easily offended, and we won’t bug Korea because they might nuke us, but come on, Germany.  Really.”

Those countries’ governments do indeed deserve part of the blame.  As for how whether Flickr should be held responsible for this mess . . . opinions vary.  One thread in the Flickr Forum has over 2,000 responses, some of which are very energetic.  But Flickr representatives have assured users that the company is working to make its censorship and/or filtering less intrusive.