When Flickr was acquired by SmugMug in 2018, it was a mission of preservation: our tens of billions of photos, hundreds of millions of photographers, and millions of thriving communities were coming dangerously close to not existing online, and that was unacceptable. So we joined forces with SmugMug, and we’re all the stronger for it.
Today we’re announcing some upcoming changes to our Terms of Service that will help us continue to preserve the art, expression, history, stories, and memories of all Flickr members for the next hundred years. These changes fall into two distinct buckets, and will affect Flickr free members. The first change relates to restricted and moderate content. (You might call it NSFW, or explicit, or other terms, but we’ve gone ahead and defined them for Flickr here.)
Photographers have long faced bans and deletion from nearly every online photography community for creating or sharing the “wrong” type of art. We’re rolling out changes to Flickr that welcome all photographers to discover, share, and interact with photography, period. Photographers who craft and create work that might be considered risqué by some will have a safe place online to interact with one another, share mutual interests, and put their art into the world without the fear of it being removed or them being banned entirely from the communities they love.
Since our founding, Flickr has been a home for all photographers, no matter their subject. This has been especially valuable for community members creating restricted and moderate content that would be unwelcome or even incur bans or have their content removed from other photo sharing platforms.
Flickr has been a home for all photographers, no matter their subject.
But we’ve been lax in truly defining a space for these photographers, until now. To support these creators, and ensure that their communities continue to thrive, the ability to share restricted and moderate content will be reserved for Flickr Pro members.
This ensures all Flickr photographers, free and Pro, will have access to spaces filled with the kinds of content they want to engage with. Refining and streamlining our moderation practices means safer spaces for everyone, no matter what kinds of photos you want to see.
The second change relates to non-public photo limits. Flickr is all about sharing photos, giving feedback, finding inspiration, and connecting with your fellow photographers. It’s a lot harder to do any of that with non-public photos. With that in mind, we’re limiting free accounts to 50 non-public photos (e.g. photos marked as private, friends, family, or friends and family. Read more about privacy settings on Flickr here).
We love being entrusted with your photos—but we love seeing them get discovered, added to groups, and submitted to photo competitions even more. We’d never turn you away if you just want a safe place to store a lifetime’s worth of images, you’ll just need a Pro membership to do so.
The above changes mean that for free accounts, photos over the 50 non-public photo limit or any moderate or restricted photos will be at risk of deletion. If this sounds familiar, it should.
In 2018 we announced that free accounts containing over 1,000 photos and/or videos would have content actively deleted. In the years since, we haven’t deleted a single photo that was over the limit. Not ONE. Instead we chose to invest back into our community, because your photos are what make this place great.
This decision to place a limit on non-public, moderate, and restricted photos allows us to preserve and encourage the inspiring public photos free members contribute to Flickr, while also freeing up resources to focus on making our Pro communities stronger than ever.
If these upcoming changes will affect you, we encourage you to subscribe to Flickr Pro! It’s the easiest and least expensive way to ensure every one of your photos will have a home on Flickr.
There’s been a lot of change here at Flickr over the past few years, from a renewed focus on Creative Commons works, to the launching of the Flickr Foundation, to refining our moderation guidelines to support photography in all its forms. And every step of the way, we’re thinking of you: the photographer, the artist, the student, the historian. Your presence and contributions to this community make it what it is, and these changes will strengthen what you’re building—not just for you, but for every photographer who finds inspiration in your work.
As we begin to roll out these changes officially, we’ll be communicating directly with free account holders who are affected, including sharing timelines, details, and resources to make sure your account stays in good standing. As always, feel free to write to our Support Heroes if you have any questions and thank you for being a part of the world’s greatest photo community.