I’ve been involved in battling online plagiarism for nearly 13 years now. The Internet has changed a great deal in that time, with new technologies, new fads, new means of expression and old ones that die out.
But no matter how much the Internet has changed, the plagiarists have, for the most part, stayed the same.
Online plagiarists, typically, gravitate to sites that offer three things:
- Easy to set up a presence
- Provide ready access to an audience
- Little, if any, expense
While these things are tempting to just about any potential webmaster, plagiarists typically put more emphasis on them than most. Though complete control over a site is appealing to many who want to make their mark online, the work involved in creating such a site and building an audience from scratch is less likely to interest someone who is already taking shortcuts.
This has meant, typically, plagiarists have followed the path of least resistance online. In the mid-late 90s plagiarists typically took to personal home page services. As forums and communities became more popular they were targeted by plagiarists due to their built-in audience and low threshold for participation. with the rise of blogging, that too became a target, especially with free blogging services.
Now though, plagiarists are increasingly turning to social media and bloggers are starting to feel the pinch. For example, a group of food bloggers recently banded together to battle what they call a “firestorm” of Facebook pages that lift their content, including recipes, descriptions and photos.
The problem is so drastic that they even created a group on Google+, named Protect Intellectual Property Online (PIPO), to swap information and deal with bad actors.
But why is this happening now? Facebook has been around since 2004 and has had over 500 million users since 2010. Typically, these types of changes happen much more quickly. Why did it take years for plagiarists to truly seize on Facebook?
The reason is fairly simple: Facebook has only recently become an acceptable replacement for a website, at least in some situations, making Facebook than just a place to talk with friends and turning it into a place to get noticed by the public.Continue Reading