Help / FAQ / Content filters

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In order to not break the Internet and the various links posted to our Help Forum, we will keep these pages at their current location for archival purposes.

Please check out help.yahoo.com/flickr for the most current help content.

What are content filters?

Flickr is a global community made up of many different kinds of people. What's OK in your back yard may not be OK in theirs. Each one of us bears the responsibility of categorizing our own content within this landscape. So, we've introduced some filters to help everyone try to get along. In order for these filters to work, we're relying on *you* to filter your content appropriately.

There are 2 types of filters that you need to use for your content.

1. Safety Level

A good rule of thumb is, bare breasts and bottoms are "moderate." Full frontal nudity is "restricted."

2. Content Type

When you upload content to Flickr, you need to choose where it "fits" in these 2 categories. For example, if you want to upload a screenshot of a web page or an online game, you can, but you need to flag it as a screenshot.

Putting your content into these categories means that everyone can then apply filters to searches they do to make sure they're seeing what they want to see.

Note: If your login ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Taiwan or with Maktoob.com you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service (this means you won’t be able to turn SafeSearch off). If your login ID is based in Germany or Romania you are not able to view restricted content due to your local Terms of Service.

Bear in mind that all content you upload is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service and our Community Guidelines.

Here are the main links you'll need to set yourself up.

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What is SafeSearch?

SafeSearch is a feature that allows you to control what turns up in your searches on Flickr, and it's on for everyone by default.

Note: If your login ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Korea,Taiwan or with Maktoob.com you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service (this means you won’t be able to turn SafeSearch off). If your login ID is based in Germany or Romania you are not able to view restricted content due to your local Terms of Service.

If you are a Flickr member, you have the option to configure the level of SafeSearch you'd like. Here's how it works:

You can set a default SafeSearch level that you'd like to use (if you're signed in).

You can also change this setting per search via Advanced Search page.

SafeSearch filters also apply when you're browsing around. For example, if you come across a photo that's outside your SafeSearch, you won't see the image. (If you're signed in, you will see an option to click through to see it, unless the content has been flagged as 'restricted' and you're under 18.)

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My account has been reviewed as safe. What does that mean?

Having a "safe" account means that you are good at moderating your own content. Awesome!

If your account is also "NIPSA", you may be one of the people caught up in the transition between the old system of moderation (public, pending, private accounts etc) and the new way (safety level/content type filters). It's fairly likely that if your account is NIPSA, it's because your account was NIPSA pre-transition, and that it may require a review by staff. You can request a review if you wish. It's fairly unlikely that staff would flag an entire account in the new system, given that you have more fine-grained control over the images in your account.

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My account has been reviewed as moderate. What does that mean?

Having a "moderate" flag on your account probably means that there are images in your photostream that should have been marked as moderate but weren't. Staff hear about this sort of thing when we receive a report that an image is not moderated properly according to the Content Filters.

Remind yourself of our Content Filters and Community Guidelines to see what's OK and what's not on Flickr, and moderate your content accordingly.

To moderate your content:

  1. Go to the Organizr
  2. Load all images (public, private, and friends/family) that need to be marked as Moderate.
  3. Click Permissions > Set safety filter to set them as Moderate.

If you have images that should be marked as Restricted, repeat steps 2 & 3 for those as well.

Please note: Private content needs to be moderated as well.

Once you've done that - and not before - you can request a review.

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My account has been reviewed as unsafe. What does that mean?

If your account has been marked as "unsafe" or "restricted" that means there are images in your photostream that should have been marked as restricted but weren't. Staff hear about this sort of thing when we receive a report that an image is not moderated properly according to the Content Filters.

Remind yourself of our Content Filters and Community Guidelines to see what's OK and what's not on Flickr, and moderate your content accordingly.

To moderate your content:

  1. Go to the Organizr
  2. Load all images (public, private, and friends/family) that need to be marked as Restricted.
  3. Click Permissions > Set safety filter to set them as Restricted.

Please note: Private content needs to be moderated as well.

Once you've done done that - and not before - you can request a review.

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Why can’t I view some member’s profile pages?

If your login ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Korea,Taiwan or with Maktoob.com, due to your local Terms of Service, only “safe” or “safe” + “moderate” content is visible to you. This applies to people's profiles too.

If you see the “This profile is unavailable to you” message, it means that you’re attempting to view an account that has been flagged as "moderate" or "restricted."

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Why are some groups unavailable to me?

If your Yahoo! ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Taiwan or with Maktoob.com, you won't be able to see restricted groups on Flickr.

If you try to view a group and you get a “This group is not available to you” message, it means that the group is restricted.

Group administrators can mark their own groups as restricted. If Flickr staff are alerted to a group that needs to be looked at because its content has offended someone, we might flag it as restricted, if need be.

Groups are a bit different than single photos. While photos can be marked as safe, moderate or restricted, groups can only be safe or restricted.

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What is NIPSA?

NIPSA stands for Not In Public Site Areas. When your images are hidden from search they are marked as NIPSA. This means they are still viewable in your photostream but won't show in other places on Flickr (searches, groups, badges, etc.).

There are a few reasons that photos may be marked as NIPSA.

If you've set your account to be hidden from public searches all of your photos will be marked as NIPSA. If this is the case, just uncheck that option and your photos should automatically be un-NIPSAed.

Your account may have been marked as NIPSA by staff because it isn't in line with the Community Guidelines. Please read the Guidelines carefully to see what is and is not allowed on Flickr. (ex. accounts are not for commercial use, images must be created by you, etc.). When you have made the necessary changes to your account you can request a review.

If you haven't set your account to be hidden from searches and its not marked as NIPSA, you may have set the images to be hidden when you uploaded them. You can change this by clicking "show more" next to Owner settings on the photo page, below the Privacy heading you can decide if your photo "is publicly searchable". You can also change them in a batch using the Organizr. After you load the batch click "Permissions" > "Hide/show in public areas". Make sure the check box is not checked and click "Change."

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Where do I set the safety level on my photos?

You can set a default safety level for photos you upload, on a page in Your Account. Whatever you set here will carry through to any/all upload methods you use.

To see what your photos are currently set at, go to the Organizr, click "More Options" near the bottom of the page, and filter by safe, moderate, and restricted.

You can also change whatever default you've set per photo or batch as you upload, and after your content is uploaded. There are batch editing tools available in the Organizr, and on the page where you see one of your photos. Once you click on "show more" next to the "Owner Settings", look for the Content filters heading. Below you can review and edit the Safety level of your photo.

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I want to upload a screenshot, but I don't want to break any rules. How do I do that?

Given that Flickr is primarily a site for sharing photos, we always encourage people to upload photos they've taken themselves. That said, if you'd like to post the odd screenshot here or there that's fine, as long as you flag it as such.

When you upload content to Flickr, we'll use whatever default you've set for the normal type of content you upload (photo, art/illustration or screenshot). If, say, you normally upload photos, you can tweak your Content Type setting from 'photo' to 'screenshot' as you upload.

You can also change the Content Type after you've uploaded your screenshot, either using the "edit" link next to your photo's Safety level once you have clicked on "show more" next to Owner settings on a photo page, or in the Organizr.

Note that if staff ever need to review an individual image of yours, and change the way you’ve moderated it yourself, you can't change the Content Type or Safety Level any more.

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How do I know if I'm doing the right thing?

What an excellent question.

Flickr will never be able to provide a comprehensive list of what content should fall in which bucket. This is simply impossible to do on a global scale.

That's why we wrote the Community Guidelines, to give you a sense of the sort of things that are allowed or not, and what will happen if you publish content that doesn't follow those guidelines.

The most important thing for you to remember when you're moderating your own content is that Flickr is used by millions of people of all ages from all over the world. We're relying on you to use your best judgement about whether or not you think the content you publish would be offensive to anyone in this enormous public space. If you even have a hint of a doubt, you should use a different safety level.

The other simple question is whether or not you'd feel comfortable showing the content you publish to a child, or your mother, or someone you're sitting next to on a bus. If the answer is no, the content should be restricted.

If it turns out that you judge "the right thing" poorly, the community will probably speak out. If we receive complaints about your content, we will take action, in line with the Community Guidelines. You really should take a moment to read them.

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I want to change my SafeSearch level, but just for one search. Can I do that?

Yes, you can, but only if you're signed in. Just click on the "Advanced Search" link, and you'll see your SafeSearch and Content Type options there.

If you aren't signed in, you can include different types of content in your search results, and SafeSearch is always on.

Note: If your login ID is from Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Taiwan or with Maktoob.com, this feature is unavailable. If your login ID is from Germany or Romania, searching restricted content is not available.

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I found a photo that shouldn't be in the "safe" zone. What can I do?

If you're signed in, when you look at an individual photo page, you'll see a link labeled "Flag this photo" under the Additional Information heading. If you click on that, you can check the box labeled "I don't think this photo is flagged at the appropriate level". That flag will alert Flickr staff and we'll review the photo in question.

If you come across content that you think might be illegal or prohibited, you should use the Report Abuse system instead. (Go to the photo, and then click on the Report Abuse link at the bottom of the page.)

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How does Flickr know how old I am?

Flickr knows everything, all the time. When you sign up for a Yahoo! account, you're asked to specify your age as a part of the account creation process. Flickr is able to grab that information when you sign in to your Flickr account.

As of March 20 2007, age has been removed from Flickr profiles, and isn't displayed on the site anywhere. We simply use age to determine whether or not members can have access to content that's been placed in the 'restricted' category.

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