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browersr
Member

What should be done with Profile Plagiarists?

For the second time within a week or so, my profile was copied by another freelancer.  The first one I reported had the info removed within 24 hours.  I just reported this second one and I have every confidence that UW will take quick action.

 

What is not clear though is whether it will be just action.  Is simply making the person remove the copied text enough?  Should these people really be allowed to just continue on with nothing more?  I would think at the very least the account should be suspended for a month.  Repeat offenders should be kicked off the platform. 

 

Assuming UW acts quickly like the first time and i will say that I really appreciate them taking these complaints seriously.  However, are the current consequences enough?

 

217 REPLIES 217
Anonymous-User
Not applicable


@Scott B wrote:

For the second time within a week or so, my profile was copied by another freelancer.  The first one I reported had the info removed within 24 hours.  I just reported this second one and I have every confidence that UW will take quick action.

 

What is not clear though is whether it will be just action.  Is simply making the person remove the copied text enough?  Should these people really be allowed to just continue on with nothing more?  I would think at the very least the account should be suspended for a month.  Repeat offenders should be kicked off the platform. 

 

Assuming UW acts quickly like the first time and i will say that I really appreciate them taking these complaints seriously.  However, are the current consequences enough?

 


I think those profiles should be banned, because these freelancers are dishonest from the beginning and they cannot provide what they offer. Therefore they steal photos and portfolios of other people. Do they become honest and skillful, because their fraud has been detected? No. However, even if such profiles are banned, such "freelancers" will open a new account with another name and skill set the next day.  

Removing a profile from Upwork may not be an ideal solution as many more such profiles can be created. I believe all the earnings of the dishonest freelancer for their first job should be transferred to the other guy.

It has been several days with no reply from UW.  Typically I at least get action right away.  I guess they are waiting for the guy to get Top Rated.  This stuff is really cut and dry.  It doesn't take a forensic scientist to figure out if the DNA matches.  You've got the report.  You can see the profile. This has happened innumerable times in the past. Take care of it.  

I apologize for the delay, Scott. Let me follow up with the team about your ticket.

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

I apologize for the delay, Scott. Let me follow up with the team about your ticket.


Thank you, Valeria.  I can see that the copied text is still there in this person's profile.  I was told by support that the person was asked to remove it.  I guess there just hasn't been a convenient time for this person to take such action.

 

Comments not directed to Valeria who is an awesome mod and not responsible for these policies:

 

1/ Why are we asking nicely for plagiarisers to remove stolen text at their convenience?

2/ Why do we allow plagiarisers to obtain "Top Rated" status?

3/ Why can't a UW support person remove copied text when it has been deemed to be copied?

4/ Why can't UW do a simple system scan when a profile is updated to look for identical text?  

5/ Why does UW not see this behavior as being bad long-term for the business (cash flow probably)?

 

 

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Scott,

 

I'm sorry to hear part of your profile was copied by a another freelancer. I see our team restricted this user's profile and will take further steps in accordance with the guidelines they are using. We are reviewing the procedure used for these and other violations, but won't be addressing the content directly and making changes to users' profiles.

 

 

~ Vladimir
Upwork

It really is endemic this copying/stealing of profiles, either generic from the Internet or from other freelancers. I have just checked an overview on a new post and there is over half a Google page of freelancers on Upwork with an identical overview (the slightest difference being in the number of years experience the freelancer claims to have).


@Vibhor G wrote:

Removing a profile from Upwork may not be an ideal solution as many more such profiles can be created. I believe all the earnings of the dishonest freelancer for their first job should be transferred to the other guy.


 And how is that better solution,? that would be considered stealing and as bad as the one who copies the profile of others if not worse. I totally understanding it is highly unethical to copy the work of others, perhaps these people misunderstood, look at the profiles of people who offer similar services and learn what they are doing well and then write your own, maybe they understand just copy and paste, that is very unethical. I would say, first warning then final warning then ban. 

 

sk-andaleeb
Member

The freelancer must be very impressed with your profile. Man Happy 

iaabraham
Member

There's no excuse for this. Ban them permanently.

petra_r
Member


What is not clear though is whether it will be just action.  Is simply making the person remove the copied text enough?  Should these people really be allowed to just continue on with nothing more?  I would think at the very least the account should be suspended for a month.  Repeat offenders should be kicked off the platform.


 I completely agree. People who start out dishonestly will likely continue dishonestly.

 

There are more than enough honest freelancers on the platform, so personally I think losing the dishonest ones swiftly and decisively can not do any harm, and may dissuade others.

It had never occurred to me that someone would even do that (not in my line of work, anyhow). How did you figure it out, if I may ask?

You can search for exact sentences on Google with using quotations. For example, if you search for the first line of my profile, you will find me, and that guy from Bangladesh on the other platform who stole it. 🙂



@Zoltán N wrote:

You can search for exact sentences on Google with using quotations. For example, if you search for the first line of my profile, you will find me, and that guy from Bangladesh on the other platform who stole it. 🙂



 just as a suggestion, I would do the search without quotes. Because sometimes they will change a few words to "pass copyscape." You know cuz if it passes copyscape it's original! LOL Idiots. If you search without quotes then you'll find those losers too.

I have to take back what I said about UW.  They did respond which is good but they don't appear to have done anything about it.  They won't tell me what action was taken (despite the fact that I am the aggrieved party).  The profile remains 100% intact and 100% a copy of mine.  If I login as a client I am able to invite this person to apply for a job.  No matter what they profile HAS to be removed.  This cannot stand UW.

"If I login as a client I am able to invite this person to apply for a job."

In this case you should invite him for a creative writing project for his own profile. Once I did this with a Romanian guy who stole my profile, word to word.


@Scott B wrote:

I have to take back what I said about UW.  They did respond which is good but they don't appear to have done anything about it.  They won't tell me what action was taken (despite the fact that I am the aggrieved party).  The profile remains 100% intact and 100% a copy of mine.  If I login as a client I am able to invite this person to apply for a job.  No matter what they profile HAS to be removed.  This cannot stand UW.


I'm telling you guys...DMCA takedown requests, every time. 

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Upwork will lose most of the clients who have fallen for such fake profiles. Seeing so many fake profiles in the community and in the freelancer search I guess that 50% of the profiles are fake or at least show false qualifications and portfolios.

Don't you think 50% is a bit exaggeration, though I agree these guys are around and have no shame and not only harming upwork but also harming the hardworking honest other freelancers. I blame their survival in here on clients who search for very cheap services, and ashamed to complain or rate as such or not rate at all because they know for a fact "you get what you paid for", I don't get it most clients know the proper price for the service they seek and yet they jump on extremely low prices and somehow hope for quality which could happen 1 in a thousand.. They are playing Russian roulette with their work.


@Abdulmoti S wrote:

Don't you think 50% is a bit exaggeration, though I agree these guys are around and have no shame and not only harming upwork but also harming the hardworking honest other freelancers. I blame their survival in here on clients who search for very cheap services, and ashamed to complain or rate as such or not rate at all because they know for a fact "you get what you paid for", I don't get it most clients know the proper price for the service they seek and yet they jump on extremely low prices and somehow hope for quality which could happen 1 in a thousand.. They are playing Russian roulette with their work.


The blame lies entirely with the thief and the site that allows identity theft to continue, particularly when the perpetrator has been identified. It has nothing to do with the client - however cheap the client is.

I love upwork but this stuff pisses me off.

 

I'd really like to know how many freelancers that are caught with stolen profiles have issues with clients later on.

Yes, I would really like to know how to keep a tab on this just in case I am copied too. 

Yes. I would like to know also. 

versailles
Member

I say: Upwork will go public one of those days. Investors need a profit. To add value to their stock shares Upwork listings must be huge. So no kicking out precious profiles.

 

🙂

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   â€”William Ashbless

Shave their bellies with a rusty razor?

 

[ETA: Or, put 'em in the scuppers with a hosepipe on 'em?]

So UW is continuing with the ridiculous "it's private" line and won't tell me how this is resolved.  You would think I am asking for the person's medical records.  All I ask is that the 100% copied profile is REMOVED.  If you want to hide behind privacy and other such nonsense in terms of how you supposedly have taken care of this, then fine.  But you HAVE to remove the 100% copied text.  Additionally by the way I could still hire this guy. 

 

UW, you create problems for yourself with this hamfisted way of dealing with an obvious problem.  By not taking the obvious step of removing 100% copied text (to include my own product names) you engender 0% confidence in your "private handling" of these matters. How in world is this not common sense?  Appalling. 

Scott, I've been told before when I've reported obvious fakes that I can still see them and click the "hire" button because I have the direct link to their profile (e.g. from adding them to my "favorites"), but that they don't show up in search results etc. Not sure if that applies to your case, just throwing it out there as a possibility...


@Jennifer D wrote:

Scott, I've been told before when I've reported obvious fakes that I can still see them and click the "hire" button because I have the direct link to their profile (e.g. from adding them to my "favorites"), but that they don't show up in search results etc. Not sure if that applies to your case, just throwing it out there as a possibility...


That may be, but being hidden from search results is not an adequate response to having stolen someone's identity--it would not prevent the fake freelancer from continuing to bid on jobs using Scott's (or someone else's) information.

 

It's worth noting that in many states, this does fulfill the elements of identity theft. As such, if the fake freelancer is based in the U.S., criminal charges might be possible, and a criminal investigation would require Upwork to disclose the user's identity.

 

Perhaps if they are unwilling to adequately address users targeting other users for criminal activity, the matter needs to be escalated. 

Appreciate the responses.  This matter would be incredibly easy to resolve if UW simply removed the profile whether it is searchable or not.  If nothing else it's a bad optic and creates unnecessary mistrust.  I am not looking to put the guy in jail (he's half way around the world anyway) I just don't want to see my profile associated with his nor should I have to.  Such a simple and fair (not to mention obvious) action to take.

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Scott, 


I understand how it can be frustrating that the team does not share any information on what actions they take against reports like these. But please understand that it also violates a user's privacy if actions against their account are shared to other users. 

 

To confirm what Jennifer has shared, the profile in question has already been actioned on and the reason why you are still seeing his profile is because you have a direct link to it. 


~ Avery
Upwork

If this was a science fiction movie, perhaps a PKD adaptation, I would ask how you can be sure that you are actually you, and not the copy? You could be a clone or a robot copy of the real you.

 

But as this is real life, I think you know who you are.

 

Still, I'm sure there are many in the copy-and-paste crowd who use Copyscape to see if their own profiles are plagiarized or not.


@Avery O wrote:

 

To confirm what Jennifer has shared, the profile in question has already been actioned on and the reason why you are still seeing his profile is because you have a direct link to it. 


 That is not the point. The fact that the plagiarised profile has not been changed or suspended (yet) *IS* the point. "Hiding" it does not remove the violation.

 

If Scott can still see HIS copyrighted text, the matter has NOT BEEN ACTIONED on, because the stolen content is still published. It is still on Upwork's server. A tree is a tree, regardless of whether I can see it or not.

 

I would suggest issuing a DMCA take-down notice if this isn't fixed within a reasonable time (24-48 hours)


@Avery O wrote:

But please understand that it also violates a user's privacy if actions against their account are shared to other users. 


In my opinion they shouldn't have any privacy rights because of the blatant misrepresentation - technically they're not "themselves." At the very least, the person whose profile they plagiarized should be informed of what will happen to that user's account.

 

Anyway, I can't think of a single good reason why such profiles should stay up at all. If someone can, please let me know.

 


@Avery O wrote:

 

(...) please understand that it also violates a user's privacy if actions against their account are shared to other users. 


How can you protect the offender's privacy and not the victim's intellectual property by not removing the plagiarized material?

 

Who cares about the privacy of someone who stole the profile from someone else?

 

Who cares if the profile is hidden from the search if they can still apply to jobs with their stolen profile?

 

What do you guys think you are doing here? What kind of business is yours since you keep plagiarized profiles on your platform?

 

I doubt many believe it when you say that you are taking action against plagiarists. You can repeat your PR answers over and over but the facts are here to prove you wrong: plagiarists are not removed from the platform at all. Period.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   â€”William Ashbless

Scott, Rene, Petra and others,

 

The reported user can't send proposals to other jobs or accept invitations to interview as his account has been limited. We will not be able to share any further information about our internal processes and status of other user's accounts. We share cases like this with the team and will continue working to improve the system in order to prevent and handle abuse like this better.

~ Valeria
Upwork

I suppose the "reported user" can still be a client - is that why Upwork does not completely remove these dishonest creeps?

 

People who copy other people's profiles, should not be allowed any access to the site at all. 

 

 

I'd be really curious to know some numbers on this stuff. Upwork gives people like auto clicker scammers, plagiarists and portfolio thieves second chances. I'd really like to see some numbers on how many of these people move on to do it again or scam clients. I know they won't show us, but it's kinda frustrating being on the honest side of things and having my rep get trashed from these people. It's embarrassing when you see clients complain about fake profiles in the client section. And then you have Amy's situation where the thief just changes it back after the limit is removed.

 

Kill them with fire I say. Nothing of value would be lost.


@Valeria K wrote:

Scott, Rene, Petra and others,

 

The reported user can't send proposals to other jobs or accept invitations to interview as his account has been limited. We will not be able to share any further information about our internal processes and status of other user's accounts. We share cases like this with the team and will continue working to improve the system in order to prevent and handle abuse like this better.


 Valeria, legally it does not matter one bit what the thief can or can not do with his or her account - Copyright laws say the plagiarised content must be removed from the server (NOT just "hidden", but actually, physically removed)

 

I don't think anyone really particularly cares first and foremost what happens to the perpetrator, what really matters is what happens (or doesn't) to the stolen content.

 

 

First, I appreciate the moderators responding here.  We know we have great mods on this forum.  At least what you stated gave me more insight to the fact that something was done which I didn't really have before outside of vague statements.  However, and I know you guys aren't the decision makers, but someone with authority needs to understand how simple it would be to solve this issue.  You guys own this service.  You can freely edit posts made on these forums when content is written that askews policy (or common decency).  Why not apply that exact same logic to something like a profile?  UW has to understand that by appearances nothing was done and it's galling to see one's content continue to be associated with someone else's profile (which can be Googled by the way regardless of the account state).  Simple answer is to remove it from their profile just as you would remove a link or bad word if I inserted it here.  That's it.  If you want to take your disciplinary action to the "cone of silence room" that's fine.  Just removing the content shows me something was actually done and most importantly it was removing my content. Please take this simple request to the next staff meeting.  It will save much heartburn and bad feelings in a simple a common sense way.

 

Petra and others have more than capably stated why the current response or action isn't enough.  Their words are more cogent than mine so I wouldn't try to add to them.