Amazon and eBay Images 'Held to Ransom'

Amazon and eBay Images 'Held to Ransom'
Photobucket demands that users pay a fee to make their images visible again on third-party sites.

(CCM) — Photobucket, a Denver-based image hosting service, has been accused of holding its users ransom after a controversial change to its terms of service, which has had a devastating affect on some online stores and forums. The change has also affected high profile web sites such as Amazon and eBay, with photographs of items for sale disappearing from the listing pages, according to a BBC report.

Many people upload their photographs to Photobucket and then link to or embed the photos in sales listings or forum posts. But from June 30, 2017, Photobucket began charging users up to $399 per year to put links to or embed their pictures on third party sites, although the company appears to have made little effort to publicize the change. Photographs on third party sites belonging to users who have not paid the charge have now been replaced by a message reading: "Please update your account to enable 3rd party hosting."

Photobucket's policy change is also retroactive, affecting photos that appeared in forums and even social media posts many years ago. "Bulletin boards across the globe are being crippled as previously vibrant threads with detailed images are disappearing," the BBC quotes one user as saying. Photos in tweets made before the change have also been replaced by Photobucket's message, unless the author has paid the charge.

Image: © iStock.