Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Death of Flickr

You might have heard Yahoo has finally managed to sell itself to Verizon. I won't get dragged into a discussion about its sale price being about a tenth of what Microsoft offered just a few years ago. What I do want to discuss is Flickr.
I have been a Flickr user for about a decade. I stopped using it about a year ago, when it became clear this online photo album service will be handed by Yahoo to the highest bidder just as soon as it can find a bidder. It is a bit of a pity since I have around 20,000 photos uploaded to Flickr, my de facto photo album, all tagged and everything; overall, I had sunk hundreds of hours into my Flickr account.
Now I am almost certainly going to delete my Flickr account altogether rather than see it falling into the hands of Verizon, a company not known for looking after the interests [and privacy] of its users. Not that Yahoo was particularly great in that department, but Flickr did have a privacy policy far superior to the competition from Facebook or Google.
Upon its deletion I will no longer have photographic online presence. Sure, my photos are still going to reside online somewhere on account of the cloud backup service I am using, but they will not be available for the world to see. Then again, the world never cared much for my photos; the friends and relatives for whom I originally set my Flickr page up never really cared for it. I can't blame them; the lesson here is mostly to those who really think the photos they upload into their Facebook account hold any value to anyone other than Facebook itself. People are just over-flooded with media these days, and one should not think their stuff is in any way more special than the rest.
Where the loss of my Flickr photo album would represent a loss is in the online world losing a massive trove of Creative Commons licensed photos. My photos have been used hundreds of times, if not more, by others; it would be a pity to deprive the world of this asset, as minuscule as it is in the grand scheme of things.
Alas, it is now clear to me that the whole notion of managing a photo album on the cloud is more than a bit presumptuous. We knew, long before Snowden came along, that everything we put online might come back to bite us. And we also know that the companies offering to look after our photos are not doing it because they like our beautiful eyes.
I now acknowledged that the person who started a Flickr account, more than a decade ago, was a naive person living in a naive Internet world. Back then, Google was a "do no evil" goodie and Facebook, no one had heard of Facebook; Yahoo was a King of the Internet who offered to look after my photos for a small fee, and I took them upon that invitation. But two things have happened since: the world grew cynical and I, I became an outright cynic.
Goodbye, Flickr. I loved you but now I am going to kill you.

Flickr image is in the public domain


wile.e.coyote said...

Watching your images was always nice, to see how person life that I know works differently when he moved to another place on the globe

Moshe Reuveni said...

That's a very nice thing to say. Thank you.