Is there really any doubt that Flickr is curating Explore? If you think they don’t then please have a look at today’s dataset provided by the Kracht Tool. Survey all the “bonked” images at the bottom of the table, as these are the ones that can be identified as having been in the showcase then subsequently removed.
Here is a sampling of higher ranked images removed from the Explore showcase today. I did not cherry-pick either. I looked for any removed image that had well over 100 faves before removal.
Does anyone think Flickr has technology so precise as to be able to select just these watermarked images for removal? If they did why not apply it to autotags?