Flickr Safety Guide
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Flickr Safety Guide

Flickr Safety Guide

So, what’s Flickr?

Flickr is an awesome photo and video-sharing community run by Yahoo. Millions of members from all over the world are uploading photos and video that they have created, each sharing their unique view of the world. You can post, sort, and share pics and videos that you yourself have created with friends, family, andfolks from all over! Flickr Help can tell you more.

What are some possible risks on Flickr?

Flickr members are expected to act in ways that build a great community. They have to follow the Flickr Community Guidelines and your country’s Yahoo Terms of Service. (If you are logged into Flickr, this link will take you directly to your local Terms).

But things happen. Just like in the real world, there are people who may behave inappropriately.

Check out our do’s and don’ts of what is expected from Flickr Community members with regard to content . Be savvy when you’re on Flickr and:

  • Protect your personal info. Remember, Flickr is for everyone to share photos and videos, so be cautious when you post personal info, pics, and videos.
  • Watch out for harassment . If people can find and contact you, like through FlickrMail ), they can possibly expose you to nasty or abusive language. Keep your guard up, and report anything that doesn’t feel right.
  • Flag this photo . When people join Flickr, they agree to flag their content appropriately. If someone isn't flagging the photos they post that are inappropriate for all ages, you could stumble across it. If this happens, send us a heads-up by reporting the abuse.

How can you reduce these risks? It’s a no-brainer! Review Flickr’s safety features below, learn how to report abuse, and ask your fam for help staying safer on Flickr.

What safety features should I know about on Flickr?

Here’s a bunch of them. You can:

  • Mark photos that aren’t suitable for all ages. Flickr members are required to flag their content depending upon what the photo or video is about – “safe”, “moderate” or “restricted”. Unfortunately, there are some people who don’t feel that the rules apply to them. If you stumble across something that you feel violates the Flickr Community Guidelines, we want to know. Click on the “Report Abuse” link that’s available in the footer of every page and then select the appropriate item from the drop down menu. We’ll take it from there.
  • Use a screen name. When you create your account, make up a screen name that’s not your Yahoo ID. To be extra safe, pick a screen name with no personal details — like, instead of "tedjones1992dallas," use something that can’t identify you, such as "bluesky50." (You can change your Flickr screen name at any time via your Account Page) Find out more about choosing an online ID.
  • Use a buddy icon. This is an image that represents you on Flickr — like an alter ego. You can use any image, but one that does not reveal who you are is best. For example, you could use a photo of a family pet. You can also use an avatar as your alter ego. An avatar is a free, custom cartoon character that stands in for you on Flickr and other Yahoo sites. Using Yahoo Avatars, you can design your own avatar to use in place of a real photo. After creating the coolest avatar possible, download it to your computer and add it as a buddy icon.
  • Make up your own Flickr web address. Create a unique, permanent web address that will look like An alias can be used to avoid posting any personal, identifiable information. Remember, once you choose a web address, it can’t be changed, so pick carefully.
  • Private Profile Settings By default, Flickr community members under the age of 18 have hidden profiles that will not come up in people searches. But not to worry, photos from under 18 year olds will still be returned in photos searches.
  • Mark your photos and videos as private. Change the default photo privacy settings to control who can see your photos and vids. Default settings will affect all your Flickr photos. To change the privacy level for a specific photo or video, click the “Edit” link at the right. Choose “This photo is private.”
  • Name your friends and family. You can invite someone to view photos, and then click the box to show “This person is a friend” or “This person is family.” After that, change the photo privacy settings to allow only your friends or family to see the photos (not the entire basketball team)!
  • Decide who can comment on your photos and videos. You control who can comment on public pics and videos. Just change your default privacy setting for comments! If someone leaves a comment you don’t like, click delete to get rid of it.
  • Decide who can blog about your photos and videos. To hide the Blog This button, you need to specify who can blog about your public photos.
  • Control who can see your geotagged photos and videos. Geotagging is matching photos to a location on a map. So if you take pictures while on vacation at the beach, each photo can be mapped to show exactly where it was shot. But if you geotag your hometown hangouts and then make those photos public, it’s possible for strangers to figure out where you live. That would suck. To prevent this, change the location privacy for your photos. Check out Flickr’s awesome video intro to geotagging.
  • Create your own group. Creating a private group is a great way to share photos and videos with friends and family. Only people you’ve invited will be able to view the group page. Check out Flickr’s tips for running a group.
  • Block another member. If these safety and privacy features don’t prevent inappropriate or unwelcome contact from someone, there are a few ways to block people or remove them as contacts.
  • Filter content. Set your viewing preferences by using SafeSearch. You can also flag your images and videos as you upload them, to help other people filter what they see.
  • Opt out of third-party applications. Choose the option where your photos don’t show up in public searches or on other web pages.
  • Watch out for phishing. Some emails and websites try to get your private information without you even knowing it! Don’t click on links in your FlickrMail or in comments from people you don’t know.
  • Report abuse. Report any content or contact you find offensive by clicking the Report Abuse link at the bottom of every Flickr page.

How can I filter the content that I upload?

Flickr is a huge community made up of tons of different people. What's OK in your backyard may not be OK in theirs. To help everyone get along, we have content filters that let you flag your images and videos as you upload them. Everyone is responsible for labeling their own content. You can filter your content by safety level (safe, moderate, and restricted) and type (photos/videos, illustration or other non-photo images, or screencasts/screenshots). Putting your content in these categories means that everyone can use filters when they search, so they can see only what they want to see.

Remember: All your Flickr content has to meet the Yahoo Terms of Service and our Community Guidelines.

Read more about content filters in our FAQ.

How can I stop my photos from appearing in public searches or on other people’s websites?

There’s technology that lets developers create cool programs with stuff from Flickr. Stuff like letting you use your pics to make a calendar, or using new ways to show off public photos. Learn more about the Flickr API on the help site.

If everything works like it’s supposed to, your photo, appearing on another site, will link back to the photo page as it looks in your photostream. Your photo will be for non-commercial use. The actual image is not hosted on the other site, but the way it looks might be different from what you’re used to.

Other ways your photos might show up outside of Flickr, but still be hosted here, are through:

  • Blogs
  • Tag search applications
  • Web games (fun, memory based programs)
  • Screen savers (displaying most recent uploads or photos from Explore, etc.)
  • Desktop photo display widgets (like Apple's Dashboard or Yahoo Widgets)

It’s OK if you don’t want your photos shown on sites outside of Flickr. You can exclude your photos from public searches on Flickr itself or through other software that works with Flickr. You can always opt out of applications that connect with Flickr's database. Your photos will still be searchable on and you will still be able to use outside websites for your own stream if you give them permission. We also let you hide the Blog This button above images. This stops people from using Flickr's blogging feature.

Now, it could happen that your image may be hosted on Flickr but someone has just linked to the static image element and not through to your photostream itself. That’s not cool; it’s against the Flickr Community Guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a note through Help by Email.

How can I remove content that isn’t suitable for all ages from my search results?

Not a problem! SafeSearch is a tool that lets you control what comes up in your searches on Flickr. It's already turned on by default.

When you first join Flickr, you’re account SafeSearch default is “safe”. You can however choose to see “moderate” content as well. Moderate? Moderate photos and videos may feature naked breasts and bare bottoms, but nothing more. Here how to make that change:

  • If you aren't signed in to Flickr, SafeSearch is always on.
  • If you are signed in, you can change SafeSearch included content that the community has flagged as “moderate”.
  • If you’re signed in, you can also set a default SafeSearch level that you'd like to use.
  • You can change this setting for each search on the Advanced Search page.

Note: If you are in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Korea, you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service — you won’t be able to turn SafeSearch off.

And just a reminder: Be sure to report abuse if you spot any inappropriate photos or videos!

A few more tips:

  • Your Web address can’t be changed. Once you’ve made up your own personalized web address, you can’t change it.

  • Flickr video. You can post videos up to 90 seconds long if the content is “safe or moderate.” If you upload a video, it must be a video you created. If Flickr finds out you uploaded a restricted video or a video you didn’t create, the video will be removed and you’ll receive a warning. Not cool. If you regularly upload content that isn’t yours, you may not be able to upload anymore. If you’re a repeat abuser, your account may be deleted.

  • Copyright infringement. OK, let’s say you find photos or video that you’ve taken in someone else’s Flickr account. A lot of times, people don’t understand copyright and might have uploaded your stuff in error. Or, you can contact the Yahoo Copyright Team about filing at Notice of Infringement. Click on the “Copyright” link that’s available in the footer of ever page to find out how so your message will go to the correct Yahoo Copyright people.

How can I report a problem I see on Flickr?

It’s super easy. Try the Report Abuse link at the bottom of every page. Use it to report obscene language, offensive content, threats of violence, harassment, or anything else that violates either the Yahoo Terms of Service or Flickr’s Community Guidelines. If you click that link when you’re on the page where the content is, we’ll get the info we need to best take action.

Flickr’s Abuse & Advocacy Team will take action as needed. They could even deactivate an abuser’s account. Yahoo’s legal team gets involved right away with reports that show child pornography or solicitation of a minor. When needed, they report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

What else can I do to use Flickr more safely?

Start by checking out our general tips for online safety. There’s a bunch of good ones, including protecting your online identity, keeping your passwords secret, being cautious about contact with strangers, and creating a family pledge for online safety. For your own safety, get to know these features and add a parent or another trusted adult as a Flickr friend so they can see what’s up.

Yahoo is committed to providing a safer online experience for all of us, and it complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Flickr has a number of safety features to limit your risks. However, protecting all of us is a responsibility we share with parents, teachers, and others.

Copyright © 2014 Yahoo! Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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