Flickr is breaking the web

Hyperlinks don’t have sell-by dates. Stale hyperlinks are a Bad Thing. A company that chooses to break hundreds of links to content that people found valuable is behaving very badly indeed.

I started using Flickr before they officially launched and I got my first Flickr Pro account in 2004 as a reward for testing their site. I’m still a customer today.

Dave Gorman has brought to light an issue that has existed without my knowing it since the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act came into force in 2009. Non-US users whose content is the subject of a DMCA takedown notice get their photos removed. For ever.

The most recent Internet Archive record of Dave Gorman’s original page is here:

Sadly, this is what it now looks like.

Dave Gorman successfully appealed the takedown and Flickr graciously allowed him to repost his photo. But the URL has changed. All the inbound links are now broken and the comments now go back to March 2012 instead of January 2006.

Flickr doesn’t work like this for US users. They get their photos restored as they were before (so Flickr can do this if they want to). They are choosing not to do so for me and all other non-US users, and as far as I can see they are not explaining why.

So goodbye Flickr after 8 years. I won’t delete my account because that would break all the links to my photos, but I will stop being a customer. My new photos, and my money, will go elsewhere.

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