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UAE unblocks Flickr website

Image and video sharing site of Yahoo! was blocked since 2005

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The popular social networking website Flickr has been unblocked in the UAE, its owner Yahoo! said on Monday.

In an article posted on its website, Yahoo! said the website was accessible through the UAE's two telecommunications providers etisalat and du.

Yahoo! reported that authorities in the UAE had agreed to unblock all of Flickr with the exception of Flickr Groups.

Ahmad Nassef, Vice-President and Managing Director of Yahoo! Middle East, was quoted as saying: "Overall, this is a very positive development for UAE users, as well as advertisers.

"We are continuing to work with the authorities in the UAE to find a resolution that would lead to the unblocking of the Groups category."

Embedding photos

Gulf News contacted the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Monday regarding the Yahoo! statement but received no response.

Flickr, an online photo and video sharing application, had been banned in the UAE since 2005. Apart from allowing image and video hosting, Flickr is a web services suite, and online community created by Ludicorp and later acquired by Yahoo! In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. Earlier this month, it reported that it was hosting more than 5 billion images.

In April 2008, Flickr began to allow paid subscribers to upload videos, limited to 90 seconds in length and 150mb in size. Last year it added the ability to upload and view high-definition videos, and began allowing free users to upload normal-resolution video.