Plagiarism in Social Media

By Rachel Pritzl (@rachelpritzl) 

ImageSocial Media allows us to share articles, pictures, and videos by one click of the mouse.  Many social media sites make it easy for users to “share” something they like without giving proper recognition to the original author. “Plagiarism is going social, according to” writes Jenna Zwang.

What is Plagiarism? defines plagiarism as: “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author.”

In a Washington Post Article, it’s noted:

“One-third of all unoriginal content in student papers came from social networks, including Facebook and all of the various “content-sharing” sites where users post and share information, such as It’s an interesting finding, because typically, the content of those sites is unverified and unsourced. Users may say pretty much whatever they want, factual or not.”

After doing some research, I found that even on Twitter plagiarism has its own hashtag (#plagiarism). This allows people to constantly tweet about their anger with plagiarism and posting articles of known plagiarism.

This leads to the question: Should Facebook Provide Plagiarism Checking Tools?

An article written by Robert Creutz posted on iThenticate, a Professional Plagiarism Prevention site, addresses this question head on.

“The recent case of the ‘fake’ Martin Luther King Jr. quote is a perfect example of how ‘who said what’ is getting lost in the social shuffle. The quote spread rapidly across Facebook and Twitter in response to Osama Bin Laden’s death.  However, it turned out that the most relevant part of the quote was getting falsely attributed to Dr. King; it was actually a comment from a 24-year-old teacher that was fused into MLK’s quote and then injected into the social web.

As more and more information becomes a social commodity, we need to keep our eye on where that information originated.”

Many universities, including the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, are using sites like to do their best at limiting plagiarism. The growing rate of social media is making it difficult to keep up. However, the possibility of Facebook providing plagiarism checking tools will allow users to “share” the articles, pictures, and video and still give credit to the proper authors.


One thought on “Plagiarism in Social Media

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