Plagiarism and Instagram

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on February 25, 2015 | 17 Comments


So I’ve been branching out on Instagram more lately – visiting other accounts, perusing my favorite hashtags, creeping my suggestions for new posts and people. And I’ve noticed something.

I stumbled on a picture in a new account. I got to looking at it, and thought, Wait. I just saw this picture this morning….on someone else’s account. Sure enough, the picture did not belong to that person. I was pissed. Which is stupid, because it wasn’t my picture. But still, that makes me so angry! How dare you take someone else’s content and make it your own? I don’t know about any of you, but I sometimes spend a half hour (or more) just trying to get the perfect angle for a shot. Trying to get the quality right. Then editing the picture to make sure it looks the best that it can. I would be absolutely furious if someone tried to take credit for that hard work. 

Me being me, I had to comment. I tried to be straightforward, but not rude. I said something along the lines of “If you’re going to use someone else’s picture, you should probably give them credit for it…” They then came back to say that they had tagged that person, and I guess that person had given them permission. I kinda felt like an ass, but at the same time…put that shit in the description, man! To me, a tag does not equal credit. I don’t really pay attention to tags in pictures 99% of the time. If I read the description and there’s nothing that says “this picture taken by x” or “repost from x” then I assume the picture was taken by the person who posted it. I find it very shady to post someone else’s picture and not state in the description that it is their work. By not putting any credit in the description, it makes the picture look like it’s yours. This is not okay.

That being said, just because you say “not my picture” or something along those lines, still does not make it right. Saying it isn’t yours means nothing if you don’t credit the person who it does belong to.

I have seen SO many accounts do this. And when I look at those accounts and see “not my pic” every other photo, I start to wonder if any of their content actually belongs to them. And the worst part? Many of those accounts have hundreds, maybe even thousands of followers. What the hell? But they didn’t even work for that! This makes me so, SO angry.

When using someone else’s anything – ideas, photos, content – always, always be careful to CLEARLY credit that person for that work. And better yet? ASK that person before using it.

Don’t plagiarize.

Sharing or posting someone else’s work without giving them credit is called stealing, people.

Jessi (Geo)

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17 responses to “Plagiarism and Instagram

  1. OMG this! I completely agree! I have seen so many accounts on instagram that has insane amounts of followers, but its all reposts or captions saying “not mine” or just generic stock photos. I don’t get it! There are so many great bookstagram accounts with great original content. Lame lol.

  2. Girl, I swear, your blog gets more and more gorgeous each time I visit. Anyway, yes yes yes to this! I’ve come across this as well and it just really annoys me. Any form of plagiarism, no matter how big or little, should not be allowed. And don’t feel bad! I probably would have done something similar :P

    Great post, Jessi! <33

  3. I totally get what you mean! I see this all the time and it drives me nuts. Then these are the same accounts that ask for “spamforspam” “follow for follow”ad all that jazz. Sorry you felt like an ass but at least you made him or her realise that they did something wrong

  4. Yes, the most frustrating part is that they get all the followers and the people who might take hours to get the right picture doesn’t. I also don’t get why you would put pictures from someone else on your Instagram.. Isn’t the whole purpose of that social media that you post things about yourself and what keeps you busy in life?

  5. So interesting and informative! I’m one of the few people who don’t actually have an instagram account, and since you have to have an account to look at it, I just don’t. I had assumed – incorrectly I see now – that people just collected pictures on instagram of things they liked and didn’t want to forget. Like projects or recipes or whatever. So my assumption was that most the pictures in someone’s account wouldn’t be there’s. Go figure, I was way wrong. Goody thing I’m not on there, I would have been stealing pictures like crazy, thinking that’s what it was about :/

    • To be fair, though, I can’t imagine ever using anything by anyone without giving clear credit. So maybe I wouldn’t have been so bad. Lol just had that after thought ;)

  6. This happened to me. I was taking part in #NovemberBookChallenge14 Day 28 was favorite first sentence and I took a picture of the first sentence in my Harry Potter book and posted it, creased corner and all. When I do these challenges I try to follow the tag and like other peoples photos especially if they chose the same as me and I stumble upon my photo with my creased book corner but under someone else’s name. It’s weird because you can probably find tons of Harry Potter photos across the web why screenshot and then post my photo. Plus if you’re really a Potter fan I think you probably own your own book you could take a photo of. I guess just plain laziness. But it does remind me why I try to steer clear of posting personal photos on social media.

  7. I hate that too, especially because no one sees the tags unless they tap on the picture. And I usually never tap on a picture unless the caption says something. It should definitely be in the caption if someone was given permission to post it, but it’s not hard to download and use one of those reposting apps. Ugh.

    I’ve noticed way too much plagiarism lately from bloggers and people on Instragram. It needs to stop.

  8. If someone took my picture and asked me if they could use it, I would most likely say yes, as long as they credit it. If I see that by “credit,” they just tagged me in the picture without crediting me in the description, I would RAGE.

    Don’t feel like kind of an ass Jessi! You are so right and I definitely agree – “by not putting any credit in the description, it makes the picture look like it’s yours.” Almost no one checks tags, unless you’re actually tagged in the picture.

  9. Thanks for sharing this. I think we sometimes overlook and re-post other people’s stuff on Social Media and not remember it is still in fact plagiarism. Though I have never done this on Instagram, I have probably shared or retweeted something on Twitter and Facebook that could have easily been plagiarized and not realized it. This post is a wake up call to all of us! Thanks. :)

  10. Yeah I definitely feel like instagram and tumblr are the hardest social medias to contain plagiarism. It’s so easy to right click and post again (or copy and paste). I specifically got a third-party instagram app because I wanted the option of “regramming” (it wasn’t an option on instagram for windows phone at least).

    Good for you for speaking out against it though!

  11. I’ve been luckily enough not to go through this, and you’re right I don’t look at tags. Maybe if the person put “Tap image for original source” as it brings up the tags, then maybe, just maybe I would be okay with it. I’ve actually just started sharing my Instagram images through Tumblr and I’ve started putting on a small watermark that goes through the image – not big, but easily enough seen without it being too much of a distraction and a pain for someone to try and Photoshop it out.

  12. Wow I have not noticed this on Instagram but that’s terrible! I would be very frustrated if people stole my pictures because, you’re right, we spend time setting up the shot, buying the books, and posting the pics. Thanks for helping me be aware of of this problem.

  13. That is the crazy downside of using instagram or any internet outlet….your drug being stolen. I was at one point putting a watermark on stuff but then I got lazy. It’s annoying to have to do that every time but it makes me think it’s worth it and I should.

  14. I couldn’t agree more with you! It irks me so much whenever people post photos on Instagram as though they were their own when they aren’t. I once stumbled across someone who took one of my photos and posted it on IG. I contacted that person directly though and got an apology and they took down the photo. But why anyone would even think it’s ok is beyond me.

    The other type of account I can’t stand is the one where it’s written in the bio, “Photos not my own, unless otherwise stated.” or “Photos from Tumblr & Google.” Neither constitutes credit to the copyright owners and it’s infuriating.

    Seeing how rampant this is becoming, I can understand why you told this person off because like you said, tagging a person does not equal credit.

    Although, on your last statement, even posting someone else’s work with credit is still stealing if permission hasn’t been sought from the copyright owner, unless the owner marked the image under Creative Commons :)

    In any case, your statement right here needs to reach the masses! Tweeting the link right now ;)

  15. I’ve seen a lot of IG accounts full of gorgeous pictures, only to find that it says “Picture not mine,” in the caption. It’s so disrespectful; the ones who do the tag thing at least make some effort at a credit, but it is still plagiarism, in a way. You’re just building up an account using other people’s great shots.

    What makes it okay if it was an account dedicated to sharing post about a certain subject. I follow @goodtype on Instagram, and everything is just reposted, but because of it’s huge following, people would want their work to be reposted because it would be noticed. It just all depends on how it’s done.

    This did happen to me once. I commented the person about it, and they immediately deleted it. They did give me credit, but I wasn’t comfortable with my photo being shared.

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