For many people, the photo and video hosting site Flickr is an online platform long-since relegated to the bottom drawer of internet memory, wedged alongside MySpace and Friendster.
Founded in 2004, formerly owned by Yahoo, and last acquired by the even older SmugMug platform in 2018, Flickr is still in operation, and in 2022 is attempting to make inroads into the explicit content business.
Flickr has announced that under the platforms’ new terms, images deemed ‘moderate’ or ‘restricted’ will only be accessible to those who have a Flickr Pro account, which costs from $8.25 per month.
Flickr defines ‘moderate’ images as containing “partial nudity, like bare breasts and bottoms”. ‘Restricted’ images would include photos that show “full-frontal nudity and sexual acts”. Videos containing content that would fit in neither category are not allowed on the site.
It is currently not difficult to find explicit sexual imagery on Flickr, even without having to sign up for an account. Flickr chiefs are likely hoping that the move will add fuel to a drive to gain more Flickr Pro members, who would need these paid accounts to access such content when the new terms kick in.
To further encourage Flickr Pro sign-ups, the terms will see free accounts limited to hosting just 50 images. Those who have free accounts with more images with this risk getting some of their content deleted.
While the shift to putting explicit content behind a paywall might seem a tad cynical, by recognizing and having a structured viewing plan for such content, Flickr is arguably making a progressive move.
Some photographers and other creators who post images containing nudity have become frustrated by social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, which have anti-nudity policies that seldom differentiate between pornography and artistic content.
“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,” Flickr said when announcing the change.
It’s certainly true that many creators are looking around for alternative platforms on which to show off work featuring nudity, considering restrictions on many of the mainstream outlets.
But the idea that the chance to see pictures of naked bodies on Flickr is going to cause a rush of people willing to pay $8.25 a month for the privilege seems like some pretty optimistic thinking from where we’re sitting.
While we wait to be proved wrong on this, we’re off to adjust our MySpace top eight friends list.