Content Marketing, Blogging and Content Creation

Is Social Media Creating a Plagiarism Problem (+ Infographic)

Social Media Plagiarism e1347815380618 Is Social Media Creating a Plagiarism Problem (+ Infographic)

image from BigStock.com

badge guest post FLATTER Is Social Media Creating a Plagiarism Problem (+ Infographic)Stolen content is an increasing problem, as people quote text that is not their own without attributing it to the original writer. Examples can be found on Twitter where users steal other’s tweets or in blog posts that are plagiarized. Why is it that plagiarism is making its way into social media?

1. Lack of Credibility

It used to be that writers and public figures were the only ones who could get their words into the media. One of the main reasons for this is that their name, or the entity they spoke for, carried a certain amount of credibility. However, with social media, anyone has the potential to be heard by many across the Internet. All they need is an account on one of the many sites that facilitate social media and they can start typing away. This allows for many to share their ideas, but there can be a loss of credibility if the poster is not considered an expert. Some may feel that stealing the words of someone who is not an expert is not plagiarism, or they may hesitate to quote that person because of their lack of expertise. Regardless of expertise, if someone is worth quoting, then they are worth citing.

2. The Nature of Communicating on Social Media

It does not happen often, but text, pictures and videos sometimes go viral on the Internet. On sites like Twitter, where the communication is meant to be short and fast paced anyway, viral tweets sometimes start out as attributed to the original poster and somewhere along the way they lose it. Is this for lack of time? Or space? When retweeting requires us to do little more than hit a button, who has time for proper attribution?

The nature of social media also calls for a somewhat casual form of communication. Generally, many see citing text as formal and something you do for your research paper, but not something you do when crafting a blog post or that 140 character tweet.

3. No Accountability

In general, when content is stolen in social media, there is little accountability. There are no heavy duty features that check for plagiarism or for whether text has been cited properly. Online empires, like Google, know how important authentic content is, and it is well known that a website that has copied content is penalized with a lower ranking. Finding a way to penalize plagiarism in social media may not be as simple, but it is necessary because with little accountability many users will push the limits of what is ethical.

Perhaps the greatest consequence of plagiarism within social media can be seen in academia. It is within this setting that not only students justify plagiarism, but scholars seem to have forgotten at times that their words and what they write must be their own. How are we supposed to hold to a standard when academics and journalistic writers cannot uphold a standard of no plagiarism themselves?

Is Everybody Doing It?

Examples of this type of behavior are rising at an alarming rate. Recently, Fareed Zakaria was found plagiarizing the work of Jill Lepore. Zakaria is a writer for several well known publications and has academic connections to Yale should have known better. However, some believe his consequence was only a little more than a slap on the wrist compared to what it should have been for such an offense.

The Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, is recently accused of plagiarizing over half of his doctoral thesis. He is denying these claims, but just the possibility of truth here means that someone who is both a high ranking official and a scholar is linked to an act of plagiarism.

Is this trickling down to students in college who see these examples and think it is all fine and good to plagiarize another’s writing? Regardless of the reason, stealing the words of others is a growing problem in academia.

You Make Your Own Choice

Ultimately, those concerned with the value of their words within the context of social media can look for ways to take matters into their own hands. There is excellent software on the market, such as plagtracker.com, which can assist in checking social media posts for plagiarism. Concerned users of social media can also make sure they give credit where it is due no matter how much time it takes and regardless of the formality it imposes on others.

Below is an infographic about the Copy-Paste Future of the Internet and what it means for content creators. How will this affect your content strategy, if at all?
PinExt Is Social Media Creating a Plagiarism Problem (+ Infographic)

Plagtracker Infographic Is Social Media Creating a Plagiarism Problem (+ Infographic)

  • http://bajmartin.com/ social_ben

    Give credit where credit is due. Not only do you offer compliments to the author it will help your SEO

  • MarsdenAssoc

    As a B2B http://www.marsdenassociates.com that advises and develops meaningful content for clients, we are all too aware of the pressure to feed the content beast that SEO has become. It is a slippery slope from leveraging others’ good ideas to borrowing actual content.  The pressure of deadlines, youthful inexperience and a lack of meaningful consequences all contribute to this problem.  But there have always been those that take the easy (wrong) road, and those that refuse to.  We must hold ourselves and each other accountable, and trust that our clients will see and reward the difference.

  • http://www.SocialMediaForSmartPeople.com/ prosperitygal

    It amazes me that people do not recognize that by citing where you got the ideas, words and posts you share, you are building your own credibility.  It shows you have integrity, which builds trust.  That concept is so simple.When I ask people when I see they skipped attribution and I ask about it, the common answer was “Oh I didn’t know.”  I personally think it boils down to people being LAZY.

    • http://www.plagtracker.com/ EmiliaSukhova

      prosperitygal Exactly my point, most of the people simply don’t think about giving credits to the authors of whatever material they use or share. I think it’s not because of laziness, but simply because they don’t care at all about it.

      • AngeliqueDuff

        EmiliaSukhova prosperitygal I think there are 2 types of people – those who don’t know (they see it all the time and never question that they should give attribution) and those who don’t care. IMO, the first is somewhat forgivable. The latter lacks integrity. I know a business coach/social media coach who does this (has done for years) with blog posts – one line of credit then the full article copied and pasted. I suppose readers may see it as someone working for his company so he looks bigger than he is, or he gets the traffic due to the keywords. I was advised by them to just copy my website content into my blog post for different keyword categories too – thus duplicating my own content.And there seems to be no search engine penalty. 

      • AngeliqueDuff

        EmiliaSukhova prosperitygal I think there are 2 types of people – those who don’t know (they see it all the time and never question that they should give attribution) and those who don’t care. IMO, the first is somewhat forgivable. The latter lacks integrity. I know a business coach/social media coach who does this (has done for years) with blog posts – one line of credit then the full article copied and pasted. I suppose readers may see it as someone working for his company so he looks bigger than he is, or he gets the traffic due to the keywords. I was advised by them to just copy my website content into my blog post for different keyword categories too – thus duplicating my own content.And there seems to be no search engine penalty. 

  • christophhess

    @content_force Habt ihr jetzt gerade diesen Link copy-pastet ;-) ?

  • williamroth

    Maybe just know if you put something on the internet anyone can use it. Historically, plagiarism was a good thing.

  • LyricalCopy

    @jaybaer If I retweet this am I plagiarizing? ;-)

  • seillans

    @jaybaer I think that sometimes users just don’t understand or know the rules.

  • mikestenger

    @DeaconSchroeder Wow. That’s really good. You should become a full-time infographic creator.

  • J.C.Kendall

    Because I and others made a big stink about it, we were able remove a serial plagiarist from Google+ recently. No doubt he’s returned under another name, but he awakened many of us to a huge problem. At least, thanks to Google Authorship and the Rel=Author tag in our works, we can still garner original credit and links. 

  • selcukergenc

    @ozgecanozenc slm

    • ozgecanozenc

      @selcukergenc selamlar :)

  • JeffAbel

    @haries_safitra Thanks for the RT this am.

    • haries_safitra

      welcome RT @JeffAbel Thanks for the RT this am.

  • Kenya5otsg

    @Overlappingsets http://t.co/IsqU5686

  • MikeLopez

    Why can’t people just write original content? It gets tougher by the day with the millions of people blogging everyday but I still believe that every person will have a unique perspective on things.

  • CourtneyRami

    @HauteCompass thanks for the retweet!

  • CourtneyRami

    @HauteCompass wasn’t that a great post by @jaybaer ?

    • HauteCompass

      @CourtneyRami @jaybaer Absolutely it was brilliant, very many important issues raised.

  • aygunmetin

    RT @mathiasmattos Is Social Media Creating a Plagiarism Problem (+ Infographic) http://t.co/jSkPjjdd … via @ModernizeMarket @brasonja

  • webpropaganda

    Is this possible to translate this in French? Giving all credits and link of course? 

    • http://www.plagtracker.com/ EmiliaSukhova

      webpropaganda I’m totally fine with it as an author of the post, but all of its contents now belongs to ConvinceAndConvert, so I think you have to mail them with a request to sort it out :) Glad to see you liked it!

  • snouraini

    So gald you are addressing this because I have been seeing this on a daily basis by one particular person. Also, because I was going to write about it and hesitated, but your post gives me motivation to write and address the problem. Hopefully the person who I see copying will read the post!

  • GSYellin

    This is something I hadn’t really thought of. Things are supposed to be shared and spread across the internet, I guess its just important to give credit to the person who posted the original content. I’m studying social media with @dr4ward at @NewhouseSU so this is definitely something I’ll keep in mind. Very insightful, thanks for posting!

  • madSMscientist

    @memktgservices @jaybaer Thanks for the RT! :)

    • memktgservices

      @madSMscientist You are welcome :)

  • stephanpire

    @jeanlucr les #SocialMedia tuent en effet le principe de propriété des idées et des informations. Une bonne chose

  • AngeliqueDuff

    I just found a SEO/SMM/social marketing company  from India plagiarizing blog posts, and informed the 2 bloggers. Chances are, not much will be done about it. Financially, it doesn’t make sense. Ethically, yes. You see it with simple quotes – that credit isn’t given. Maybe they think it clutters their graphic design when they make an inspirational quote/image to share???A similar thing has been happening with photography for decades, but more so since Flickr, Pinterest and Facebook. I do believe there are 2 different types of people  when it comes to not giving attribution – those who are ignorant (somewhat forgivable), and those who don’t care (lacking integrity, not forgivable).Here is a question: when you consume so much material on one topic (via books/articles/webinars/podcasts) – let’s say on social media – at what point does it become your own thoughts and opinions? 

    • 3rhinomedia

      AngeliqueDuff great questions … same ones I have. And bummer about the company in India. I wish more people followed the golden rule both online and off! Question for everyone here, regarding attribution, what are your top rules/tips? Would love to share them with my students as I think content curation has a lot of value if done properly. 

  • Ian Rockefeller

    People who plagiarized tends to fool themselves.Why would you copy any ideas and works if you have your own ideas or scheme. Think about it guys, We should build first credibility and integrity to our own self because if you do that we can have our own perspective on things. Sometimes we should know the rules and consequences of what we are doing. People are lacking off the so called “professionalism”. Even here in the Philippines, the recent Senator Tito Sotto who plagiarized Pres. Kennedy’s speech. which cause him a lot of insults from the public and social media. Little by little we don’t care about the owner’s feelings, you have no right to copy others intellectual property. Just remember this “Just be true yourself”.