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How to police 3 billion Flickr photos

How do you police a site consisting of close to 3 billion pieces of consumer genererated media? Ask Heather Champ, Director of Community at photo sharing site Flickr, who oversees that the 30 million members of Flickr follow the community guidelines and don’t post pictures that the company consider illegal or inappropriate.

Champ says there is a clear need to have a control function to monitor the site.

“The amount of time it would take for the community to self-regulate — I don’t think it could sustain itself in the meantime,” she says. “Anyway, I can’t think of any successful online community where the nice, quiet, reasonable voices defeat the loud, angry ones on their own.”

Her team handles feedback from people like for example a woman who complains that her ex-boyfriend has posted inappropriate photos of her or the parent without custodial rights who wants photos of the child, posted by the other parent, removed. Champ says that people sometimes do stupid things due to the anonymity of the web:

“People become disassociated from one another online. The computer somehow nullifies the social contract,” she says.

Read the entire interview by the San Fransicso Chronicle.

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