Comments, Censoring, Photos, & Flickr

Flickr = Censorship
Originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk.
Thomas Hawk is making a big deal about Flickr deleting a photo and the corresponding comments from one of their users. He says that Flickr deleting the photo and the comments is censorship. I will step outside my usual idea that only the government can truly censor someone. Flickr/Yahoo cannot keep Rebekka from posting the photo someplace else. They cannot keep the users from commenting someplace else about this photo.

I will say that if any internet user expects to own the comments, they need to own where the comments are being placed. My blog does not have an end user license agreement. I am the person who backs up my pages and my comments. That is the only way I can really control it. Flickr is not a co-op. I do not have an equal say on what happens and I do not have a say if they think I broke the rules. Flickr is a business and I am their customers. Like business and customer relationships, there is asymmetrical power.

I will not make fun of Thomas Hawk for his protest. He is trying to change the way Flickr does business by applying pressure. This often can change how a business works. I as a customer thinks the best thing I can do it take my business elsewhere if I have a problem.

In the end this is not a rights issue. Flickr is well within its rights to do what it did. Since they are not a monopoly we can all take our business elsewhere if we choose.


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