If you or I committed plagiarism, or facilitated another’s act of plagiarism, we wouldn’t get away with it.
And that’s good. That’s right.
But if a mega-corporation like Facebook did, it would. In fact, it does.
Let me explain how.
I’m going to give you one example with all the vital details. I’m going to name names, so there’s no doubt about whether I’m speaking in theoretical terms, making stuff up or, as we say now, just creating “fake news.”
The example I’m going to provide is hardly the only instance I’ve seen on Facebook. I will tell you in advance that I have taken all the steps Facebook recommends in its processes to protect intellectual property claims with little success. That’s why I think it’s fair to say that Facebook does not really put a high priority on fighting violations of intellectual property rights for a corporation with the resources to do it right.
There’s a Facebook page under the name Atticus Howard that has a history of copying my verbatim writings and posting them without attribution, without links, without credit of any kind. I don’t know if the Facebook page is monetized by the person responsible, but I know Facebook is a super big business that is monetized in the extreme by all of its users – one way or another.
I’ve appealed to both the only way I know how without spending money I don’t have to hire an attorney to take action against them. It’s still an option, but, of course, from my experience, it’s unlikely I could ever actually be made whole for the abuse that has already occurred and continues to occur. As I said, this is one example of many. I could spend all my waking hours just keeping up with these abuses – playing a hapless, time-sucking game of Whack-a-Mole. Frankly, I’d be satisfied if either the Facebook user or the company would just take down the abusive site.
Even writing this column will only serve to bring the offender and Facebook, his facilitator, more traffic and presumably more revenue. So, I’m not advocating going to the site, but rather trusting me that what I tell you about these details is only for the purpose of proving the truth of what I am reporting to you.
Below are current examples of the plagiarism that I am charging. With each, I have filled out the proper forms with Facebook to have them blocked or removed. In some cases, my requests have been either temporarily acknowledged by Facebook and blocked or the material has simply been reposted by the offender. I can’t really tell which is the case. There’s no system of follow-up by Facebook that I can find. And while the offender receives the details of my complaint and my contact information, I don’t get his.
- On Dec. 22, 2017, WND posted this column titled, “The day everyone will speak Hebrew.” Here, you can see the “lifted” version on the Facebook page of Atticus Howard without attribution, link or credit with a post date of Dec. 23, 2017.
- On Dec. 12, 2017, WND posted this column titled, “Remember when ‘personal lives; didn’t matter?” Here, you can see the “lifted” version on the Facebook page of Atticus Howard, with a different headline, and without attribution, link or credit with a post date of Dec. 13, 2017.
- On Dec. 26, 2017, WND posted this column titled, “8 reasons most Americans don’t like tax cuts.” Here, you can see the lifted version on the Facebook page of Atticus Howard, with a different headline, and without attribution, link or credit and a post date of Dec. 28, 2017.
- On Dec. 11, 2017, WND posted this column titled “9 real reasons California burns.” Here, you can see the “lifted” version on the Facebook page of Atticus Howard, with a different headline, without attribution, link or credit and with a post date of Dec. 18, 2017.
- On Dec. 7, 2017, WND posted this column titled “Trump has become ‘the media equalizer.” Here, you can see the “lifted” version, without attribution, link or credit and with a post date of Dec. 8, 2017.
Suffice it to say I could provide many more examples of this abuse, which I only learned about through an email from someone who spotted the trend and kindly brought it to my attention.
Why is this important? Why should it be of concern to all who care about intellectual property rights, fraud, deliberate serial plagiarism and general misrepresentation on one of the biggest communications forums in the world?
Because Facebook is powerful – and, from my own experience, woefully unaccountable to this kind of abuse within its business model.
I’ve done all I can, expending more time than I have. I don’t know whether others will be as concerned about this as I am. But this can happen to anyone. And, again in at least three of the four examples above, I followed through multiple times attempting to get these rip-offs permanently blocked, ultimately to no avail.
And that makes Facebook responsible, culpable and recklessly unaccountable.
I’m quite sure, I’m not the only person in the world to have experienced such abuse. Maybe someone should put together a class-action lawsuit against Facebook as incentive to be more responsible and proactive.
One thing I’m fairly certain of: I doubt very much Atticus Howard will be re-posting this column under his name.