Flickr Apologizes for Censorship

One of the co-founders of flickr has apologized for the censorship situation that occurred yesterday.

Admitting that it was a mistake to delete the photo posted by Rebekka Guðleifsdóttira, co-founder Stewart Butterfield said that he and his staff were sorry for the error. Rebekka originally posted a photo detailing which of her works she claims had been illegally used by a London-based poster company.

Butterfield explained the rationale behind the deletion:

It’s important to be clear why the photo was deleted: it had nothing to do with a desire to silence Rebekka from calling attention to the outfit which had reportedly sold copies of her photos without knowledge or permission and without compensating her (in fact, even before her photo was deleted, we were investigating ways in which we could help Rebekka in this situation and prevent it from happening to others).


The photo was deleted — again, mistakenly — because of the direction the comments had gone, which included posting the personal information of the infringing company’s owner and suggestions for how best to exact revenge. It is an emotional issue and most people were there to support Rebekka in a positive way, but some of the angry mob behavior crossed the line.

Butterfield also mentioned that “several policies which will be changing as a direct result of this incident and the goal is that nothing like this ever happens again.”

The backlash against flickr has been substantial – Butterfield’s apology should go a good way towards smoothing over relations with an angry community. Now I just hope that the original problem that lead to this issue can be resolved. The copyright infringement of Rebekka’s work is still up in the air. Hopefully the support that has been given to her already will now be bolstered by flickr and a resolution can be worked out sooner than later.

One Response to “Flickr Apologizes for Censorship”

  1. Paul says:

    Good to hear the reasons for the removal of the picture and related comments and hopefully Rebekka can be successful in her search for compensation.
    Paul @

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