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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


@Vladimir G wrote:

 

I've checked and see our team took immediate action following the request you submitted. I do see one of the users copied one item from your Employment History and will ask our team to address that detail as well. Our team will follow up on the latest message you posted and share more details.

 

Thank you for following up. Apart from my copied Employment history, that OTHER profile still has a quarter of my Overview copied. I need that removed too.

 

Unfortunately, it will take a few days to remove the reported profiles from search results on Google as they have already been sanctioned on Upwork.

 

I understand this. 

 

As you already must be aware by now, tickets marked as solved are not closed and you can respond to them to continue the conversation. You don't need to take additional action since our team is already processing your reports and will update your ticket soon.

 

No, this is exactly why I come to the forums, because I can't expect proper communication from CS (as it is I already have one "solved" ticket that hasn't been resolved for over a year, and another for 10 months). I keep getting the same response, and all I want is for the plagiarized content to be removed. 

 


 

Why is Upwork so dilatory about suspending these people who should not be freelancing in the first place and have absolutely no right to be on Upwork and certainly should not be seen on Google or any other search engines. They should be permanently banned. What hold do they have on Upwork that they should continue to use other people's profiles?

 

How is it that people are only given mild little smacks on the wrist when they lie about their location, steal photographs, and not just overviews, but work experience, portfolios and education. 

 

Isabelle you should certainly ask for a DMCA.

Nichola,

 

Profiles that have copied content are suspended by Upwork team. They aren't searchable on Upwork and once Google search catches up, they are not searchable there either. Suspended freelancers also can't apply for jobs or accept invitations.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Valeria, thanks I do know that eventually, something is done. But why does it take so long? It is extraordinarily stressful, particularly when the people who have stolen the profiles get jobs on strength of them.

 

And why are these people - they are not freelancers - suspended and not permanently banned?

 

If they are suspended, but not allowed to send proposals or accept jobs - that presupposes that they are allowed to become clients?

Nichola, 

 

Permanent actions are taken on these accounts. In other words, they won't be able to use their accounts on Upwork anymore. I'm sorry that we can't share any further details about our internal processes, but please rest assured that this issue is taken much more seriously now.

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Nichola L wrote:

Why is Upwork so dilatory about suspending these people who should not be freelancing in the first place and have absolutely no right to be on Upwork and certainly should not be seen on Google or any other search engines. They should be permanently banned. What hold do they have on Upwork that they should continue to use other people's profiles?

 

How is it that people are only given mild little smacks on the wrist when they lie about their location, steal photographs, and not just overviews, but work experience, portfolios and education. 

 

Isabelle you should certainly ask for a DMCA.


Completely agree. I have several theories about why they don't want to ban these people, ranging from pure laziness to wanting to keep inflated freelancer numbers up.

 

But even though Upwork's response has been so poor thus far, I think the least we can expect is for the plagiarized content to be removed!!

Isabelle Anne,

 

I can confirm, that the users you are referring to have also been actioned. They won't be able to use Upwork any longer.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Valeria, I really do appreciate your assistance, but I cannot rely on Upwork's assurances that they can't use the site anymore, since there's no proof and their profiles are still there.

At this stage, though, all I want is for the plagiarized content to be removed from their profiles (my employment history on the woman's profile and my overview excerpt on the man's profile).

If a profile is viewable to someone with a direct link, it doesn't mean that it is active and that it can send proposals or receive work. Valeria actually said this again.

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


@Rene K wrote:

If a profile is viewable to someone with a direct link, it doesn't mean that it is active and that it can send proposals or receive work. Valeria actually said this again.


If a stolen profile is viewable on Google or any search engine, it may not be active but it is visible, and will detract from the person to whom it belongs. Of course, if Upwork does what it can (after months), and the person who stole the profile is suspended (not banned), but is still showing on public search sites, then clearly the abused freelancer will have to independently issue a take down.


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:
Valeria, I really do appreciate your assistance, but I cannot rely on Upwork's assurances that they can't use the site anymore, since there's no proof and their profiles are still there.

At this stage, though, all I want is for the plagiarized content to be removed from their profiles (my employment history on the woman's profile and my overview excerpt on the man's profile).

Isabelle said exactly what is bothering me. I have reported three freelancers who copied my overview. One of which took Upwork one year to remove one of them (they gave him a year to fix his overview). Another freelancer I reported they removed promptly. The 3rd one is still popping up on Google search. Which Valeria I know you said has been dealt with but I have my doubts.


@Amy T wrote:

Isabelle said exactly what is bothering me. I have reported three freelancers who copied my overview. One of which took Upwork one year to remove one of them (they gave him a year to fix his overview). Another freelancer I reported they removed promotely. The 3rd one is still popping up on Google search. Which Valeria I know you said has been dealt with but I have my doubts.


Just a few days of seeing my stuff on their profiles is driving me crazy, but a year!!! Smiley Frustrated I just can't understand this system.

I can't really see what can be done. Given that in the countries most plagiarists hail from, even big laws are barely enforced, what possible regulation can be placed on their online activity? It's not like they get much work anyway, although every so often some client complians on here about how some teenager with poor English can't (GASP!) really create them a fully working website that will put them at the top of Google's rankings for $7 an hour.

On the other hand, plenty of clients have complained about getting dozens of spam applications, and clearly they find it offputting - and we've all had to suffer the unfair Connects system as a result. 

However, nothing can be done about it really - the poorer half of the world are, thanks to the Internet, aware of how we live (Or, at least, how they think we live), and nothing's going to stop them trying to get a piece of the pie. There is no real solution.

tgstudio
Member

I yet again have to put in a ticket about a "freelancer" who copied my overview word for word. On top of that, his portfolio is bogus.

 

This is the second time I have addressed this about this particular freelancer. It is getting tiresome.

Amy,

 

Actions have already been taken on the profile you've reported.

~ Valeria
Upwork

There's about a billion or so people who are A) Very poor, B) Can speak (or at least read) a little English, C) Have access to an Internet cafe, and D) live in countries where corruption and dishonesty are rife. I really think this problem is beyond Upwork's remit. 

Whatever the sociological issues, there is no reason for Upwork to condone this sort of dishonesty on its site.


@Ramon B wrote:

I really think this problem is beyond Upwork's remit. 


I agree that Upwork can't easily stop people from plagiarizing in the first place, but once we go through the trouble of reporting them, action should be taken. There is no rational reason on earth why plagiarized content should stay up. It's also in Upwork's best interests to ban the fraudster, because if they can misrepresent themselves like that then they'll have no problem with scamming clients.

But how? In countries with high unemployment and no welfare state, there's millions of people who literally do nothing else but spend all day at Internet cafes trying to work out how to get some cash online. Upwork could employ thousands of checkers, but it would still not stop them from doing it - it only takes a minute or so to create a new profile after all, and forged documents can be purchased cheaply if they need 'proof' to reappear. 

sigh.  my profile has never been stolen or copied.  my picture has never been stolen or copied.  still banned from the cool kids table.  sigh.

Ugggh, just found one using my overview.  Even put the same hours I have worked.  

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"

We'll have that account actioned in a moment, Katrina. Thanks for reporting

~ Valeria
Upwork

Sad to see my thread continues.  However, I have noticed that UW does seem to be doing a better job preventing copied profiles.  I was being copied every week but I haven't been (that I know of) in some weeks or more.

 

The oddest thing from my perspective is why UW absolutely refuses to remove profiles.  They simply refuse to edit the content to remove all details thus these things can stay in Google for months. Ban the thief and remove the profile. It's that easy and doesn't require a special task force.  


@Scott B wrote:

Sad to see my thread continues.  However, I have noticed that UW does seem to be doing a better job preventing copied profiles.  I was being copied every week but I haven't been (that I know of) in some weeks or more.

 

The oddest thing from my perspective is why UW absolutely refuses to remove profiles.  They simply refuse to edit the content to remove all details thus these things can stay in Google for months. Ban the thief and remove the profile. It's that easy and doesn't require a special task force.  


Upwork has consistently refused to explain why these profiles remain. It's infuriating.


@Scott B wrote:

 

They simply refuse to edit the content to remove all details thus these things can stay in Google for months. Ban the thief and remove the profile. It's that easy and doesn't require a special task force.  


That's my issue too. I've realized that removing the fraudster's profile is too much to ask of this site. But there's no reason why they shouldn't immediately remove the copied content.

 

After asking a second time, they removed my overview from the plagiarist's profile and replaced it with the word "deleted." It really is that simple and the least they can do. Now I just can't understand why they won't do the same for the other texts that I've reported as copied, or for the other freelancers that have complained here.

 

It seems to be either a very haphazard or very selective policy.

I have just pointed out that despite my having served a DMCA notice and having received assurances that the perpetrator will no longer be able to use Upwork, the text that has been taken word for word from my profile is still there. 

 

The response also referred to the copying as 'plaigiarism', ignoring the fact that I was asserting copyright and holding Upwork responsible for copyright infringement. Upwork is now acting illegally.

 

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Kim, 

 

Please note that the freelancer you reported is no longer able to use their Upwork account. Their profile is unavailable but you can access it because you have the direct link. Our team will follow up on your ticket with more details soon.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

Thank you for responding, Vladmir. I have now received a further response saying that the text has been removed. (Obviously, I can't check at present as Upwork is only partially working, but I have no reason to think otherwise.) 

 

> Their profile is unavailable but you can access it because you have the direct link.

 

I understand this. However, a DMCA notice requests the text is removed because it violates copyright. As long as it's still published on Upwork, it's in violation of copyright irrespective of how many people can read it and how easy or difficult it is to do that. 

 

I (hopefully, obviously) am pleased and appreciate that the user was removed from the site, but time and energy could have been saved on both sides if the specifics of my ticket had been addressed from the start. It should not be necessary to repeat such a request.

 

There was no dispute that the text was copied from my profile, and the obvious sensible action in such circumstances should be to delete any text that is stolen from another profile as Isabelle described earlier.

 

Whether Upwork decides then to ban the offending user, slap them around the face with a wet fish, or tut sadly and give them another chance will presumably depend on the individual circumstances, but I'd hope that there's more banning than tutting on balance and you don't need to buy many wet fish.

iaabraham
Member

Hi Valeria/Vlad,

 

**edited for Community Guidelines** sill has my Employment History copied and **edited for Community Guidelines** still has a part of my Overview covered. Could you please follow up on this for me? (Request #18430014)

 

Vlad, I know you said CS would follow up on my latest message with more details, but they haven't, and that's why I'm here now. Besides, sending them any further messages will be met with the same "In order to protect the confidentiality of all of our membersโ€™ accounts, I won't be able to report back with the outcome of our investigation."

 

I just want my stuff removed from the plagiarists' profiles - that's all. Not even asking for the users to be banned anymore. I wanted to try the DMCA notice, but Kim didn't seem to have much luck with that.

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Isabelle Anne, 
You are able to access their profiles because you have a direct link to their profiles, but I checked both freelancers you reported and their accounts has already been addressed. 

 

Hi Kevin, 
Could you please share with us a link to the user you reported? I tried to look for him, but couldn't. It would be best to include that on your ticket so that the team can address it asap.


~ Avery
Upwork


@Avery O wrote:

....You are able to access their profiles because you have a direct link to their profiles....


If those direct links were automatically thrown into a bin for redirects, there could be a lot less doubt about, and a lot less time and effort spent investigating, confirming, and reassuring about, the effectiveness and speed of Upwork's actionsโ€”to the benefit of contractors and moderators alike.


@Avery O wrote:

Hi Isabelle Anne, 
You are able to access their profiles because you have a direct link to their profiles, but I checked both freelancers you reported and their accounts has already been addressed. 

 


I'm sorry Avery, but did you read my post? Since Upwork is not going to permanently remove the fraudsters, I insist on MY content being removed. I was assured that it would be, but it's still there. My Overview from one of the profiles was removed and replaced with the word "deleted," so I don't understand why the same can't be done for the rest of my content.

 

Is it simply due to pure laziness or some wacky policy that we're not privy to?

 

On that note, I have no idea why Upwork insists on retaining the plagiarized content. Last I checked, having duplicated content on your site has no benefits (SEO-related or otherwise). It's baffling.

 

Please, please just remove my content from their profiles. I will leave this particular ticket alone once that is done.

Isabelle Anne,

 

I can confirm that both users' accounts have been permanently closed. Their profiles are not searchable and they can't use them to bid on jobs or get hired.

The process we have currently doesn't allow us to edit their profiles because we keep record of all accounts ever registered on Upwork, even closed ones, on the back end. We understand that this is confusing for users who can still view those profiles via the direct link and we are working on a better solution. 

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

 

....We understand that this is confusing for users who can still view those profiles via the direct link and we are working on a better solution. 


<question type="rhetorical"> 

e.g., automated redirect?

</question>

 

;^)


@Valeria K wrote:

Isabelle Anne,

 

The process we have currently doesn't allow us to edit their profiles because we keep record of all accounts ever registered on Upwork, even closed ones, on the back end. We understand that this is confusing for users who can still view those profiles via the direct link and we are working on a better solution. 


Thanks Valeria - this is a better explanation than what I've been given previously. It is still extremely odd though, because some of my copied content was deleted while another part wasn't - so it doesn't make sense when you say that profiles can't be edited. (Unless what you mean is that one part was deleted before the account was closed, and then afterwards they couldn't delete any more?)

 

In any case, I can see that nothing more can be done here. I appreciate your help and hope that Upwork is really working on a better (less nonsensical) approach to this.


@Valeria K wrote:

Isabelle Anne,

 

I can confirm that both users' accounts have been permanently closed. Their profiles are not searchable and they can't use them to bid on jobs or get hired.

The process we have currently doesn't allow us to edit their profiles because we keep record of all accounts ever registered on Upwork, even closed ones, on the back end. We understand that this is confusing for users who can still view those profiles via the direct link and we are working on a better solution


Here you go:

 

no.jpg

And the award for Creative of the Week goes to.............

 

Drum roll .............................

 

Virginia!

kprice777
Member

My profile overview has also been copied...word for word other than sneakily changing out 15 years for 7 years. 

Not only that, but they had the audacity to copy one of my jobs and add it to their portfolio!

Please take this fraudster down immediately.
iaabraham
Member

I just found a top rated guy who's copied some of my overview Smiley Mad admittedly, it's only a small part, but it's so annoying. I assume he won't be suspended/banned because of his active contracts, but please Valeria or Vlad, could you ask him to remove the copied part? 

 

Claims to be a content writer and he can't even come up with his own stuff:

**edited for Community Guidelines**

I also found at least two other profiles that have copied that part of Isabelle Anne's profile.