Flickr is under new ownership and that means new rules. Now it’s time to back up all those photos that you just assumed would be there forever.
5 February 2019 is the day that Flickr will officially begin the mass purge of photos. The company was purchased from Yahoo in April by SmugMug and it was inevitable that changes would have to be made. On Wednesday, the company announced that free users will now be limited to a total of 1,000 pictures. It hopes users will consider migrating to the improved Flickr Pro service that costs $50 (£39) per year.
Getting mad at SmugMug is a waste of time and there’s no time to waste. If you have 10 bajillion photos from school in that account that you forgot about four years ago, start trying to remember the login. On 8 January 2019, free users who have more than 1,000 photos or videos will be cut off from uploading anymore. On 5 February 2019, the company will begin actively deleting photos starting with the oldest until the account is under the limit.
Social media networks like Facebook offer free photo storage, Instagram gives you a better way to share, and cloud storage providers like Apple give convenient bulk storage options. Flickr’s purpose has mostly been lost. In its press release, the company wrote:
Unfortunately, “free” services are seldom actually free for users. Users pay with their data or with their time. We would rather the arrangement be transparent...
From the start, Flickr has been an act of co-creation, and without you, our community, we’d be just an empty picture frame – no more than a template and a web address. We need the community’s help to make Flickr a sustainable, thriving community again.
In other words, Flickr knows it’s in a tough spot and is hoping to appeal to users’ better nature. We’re not a garbage company like Facebook, is the message. Paid customers get an ad-free experience, unlimited full-res photo uploads, increased video limits from three to ten minutes, and a bunch of discounts from partners like Adobe. Oh, and the requirement for having a Yahoo email address is now as dead as Yahoo.