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January 31, 2007 – The popular photo-sharing site Flickr.com, under parent company Yahoo!, announced yesterday that users who want to post photos will soon need to log in with a Yahoo-specific account password. While current users can sign in with either a Flickr ID or a Yahoo ID, Flickr IDs will expire March 15. Users will also face new limits on the number of photo tags and contact members, that has fueled a forum of debate from users.
As part of an update to "Make Flickr Better," Flickr users will have a new limit of 75 keyword tags per photo,stated a Flickr news release. Users with 3,000 plus friends will also be out of luck. The new limit for a user’s content list will be 3000 members. The new Flickr rules are intended for better system performance, according to the release.
Along with this announcement, Flickr issued a notice that starting in the spring accounts will require Yahoo passwords. The new Yahoo-specific passwords, however, may undermine one of the better advantages Flickr has to offer. Flickr, which currently accepts Flickr log-ins, oftentimes saves the password in the computer settings. Yahoo, however, typically requires multiple log-ins for security reasons.
The new guidelines for Flickr users come as part of Yahoo’s acquisition of the photo-sharing site in March 2005. Like many other online-sharing sites, Yahoo reserves the right to modify services with or without notice.
User "Sol Lang" said in the Flickr online forum, "I don’t believe that this is a move to make Flickr run more smoothly, although I believe it may. I believe that it is greed-based and that Yahoo doesn’t want to spend the money required in order to build an infrastructure to handle these kinds of volume."
Many users have reacted on the Flickr forum, some calling the new rules "censorship" and "limits on freedom of expression." Other users, however, do not mind the new number settings for tags and contacts or the inconvenience of switching accounts, citing a better performing Flickr worth it.
"We love your freedom, but, in this particular case, limiting these things will actually improve the system performance, making pages load faster across the site for everyone and cut out some unwelcome[d] spammy behaviors," stated the company release.
Flickr has not made announcements about whether the Yahoo-required ID will affect Flickr viewers.
Interested readers can refer to the Flickr forum at http://www.flickr.com/forums/help/32686/.