Flickr censored comments complaining about copyright violations, the BBC reports.
It all started when popular Flickr photographer Rebekka Gudleifsdóttir found out that the online gallery Only-Dreemin' UK was allegedly selling her images without her consent.
Gudleifsdóttir estimates that the gallery made several thousand dollars off the illicit sale of her work. The photos were eventually taken down, but the gallery refused to compensate the 28-year-old Icelandic student and single mom for the images.
The gallery claims to have bought the images from a third party who produced false documents to support their claim to copyright.
At this point, events become murky. According to the BBC article, Gudleifsdóttir posted a new photograph to her photo stream to protest her exploitation at the hands of Only-Dreemin'.
That image got more than 450 comments, including some that Flickr's administrator's deemed hostile or threatening towards the operators of the gallery. The article claims that Flickr deleted "the entire post," which I take to mean the image and all associated comments.
The image was reportedly deleted without warning, but not before racking up over 100,000 views.
I don't know what Rebekka's picture looked like, but somehow I doubt the image itself was threatening towards the Only Dreemin' Team. It wouldn't surprise me if individual commenters crossed the line and wrote inappropriate comments that deserved to be deleted. Flickr should have a zero-tolerance policy for threats.
However, I can't see any justification for deleting the image and all the comments.
To its credit, Flickr has since apologized to Gudleifsdóttir and admitted to deleting her image in error.
Gudleifsdóttir accepts the apology and continues to press for a legal resolution of her copyright dispute with Only-Dreemin' UK. I hope she gets a nice chunk of change from those who tried to rip her off.
Hat tip to reader Jonathan.
Update: Here are Gudleifsdóttir's own blog posts on the dispute.