We are now at the peak of the digital age when information to anything and everything is available at the snap of our fingertips. People spend a gargantuan amount of their time in front of their computer screens and mobile devices. This behavior makes us vulnerable to tons of online security threats, fake news, and online harassment. Filipinos are known to be one of the most active countries in social media and as a democratic country, we have a lot of online freedom that makes it hard to filter content. With all these factors considered, is it still safe to go online? Globe Telecom, the country’s leader in communications launched the #MakeItSafePh campaign which advocates for the responsible use of social media.
Fake news is not new in our country. The issue even reached the Senate which has failed to make a resolution on the matter. But before the onslaught of fake news, plagiarism in the digital age is one of the primary issue faced not only by the academe but even the ordinary netizens who post substantive and viral content on their social media accounts. Photos from professional and amateur photographers (including me) had been victims of photo grabbing by commercial pages and other online entities.
What is plagiarism? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to “plagiarize” means: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own, to use (another’s production) without crediting the source, to commit literary theft, and to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. Plagiarism is an act of fraud. Online plagiarism has already taken a lot of shapes and forms as it is very easy to download, edit, copy, and paste content from the web. Creating online content is no easy task. It entails a lot of research, skill, and creativity to make quality posts, photos, and articles.
Here are four things to remember in order to be a responsible netizen:
- Share and Care
If ever you find an interesting article, post, or video on social media, you no longer need to download it and re-upload it on your page. The share button is easily available for you to use. This will enable your friends and followers to know the source of the article or post which is part of his/her accountability. For trending content, this will help the original author have his desired social media reach which can be treated as a reward for his effort in making the content. You want to go trending, try creating content on your own. Never try to go trending or viral on social media using the content of others.
- Ask Permission
Asking for permission from the author won’t hurt you right? Try to reach out to the person who made the original post and ask for permission if you intend to use his material, photo, post, or other online content for your own post. Some online content is for sale and you can pay the source if you want to use the content. Asking for permission is a sign of respect to the person, his art, his effort, and his creativity.
- Do Not Crop
For photos with watermarks, it is rude to explicitly remove the watermark of the photographer. If you think that a photo is beautiful, that is because of the skills of the photographer and his equipment. Sometimes they have to spend a lot on logistics. I had been a victim of watermark cropping before and it certainly left a bad taste. Why make a big deal out of a picture? Try taking the photo for yourself if you think that’s easy. It takes a lot of mastery to perfect the art of photography.
- Verify and Cite
The web is filled with fake new clutter and information that can deceive people. Triangulating sources is important in order to avoid falling into the trap of fake news. Once you have verified the legitimacy of the information, you may cite your sources.
Remember, submitting someone else’s work and making people believe that their work is yours is a form of fraud. Whether if its a social media post, a formal paper, an online article, or any type of online material, the author is the owner of the intellectual property. The best thing that you can do is respect the author and follow the things I have mentioned above. Let us help #MakeItSafePh by doing our share in advocating for a more secure world wide web.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spread the campaign to the teachers of the Zamboanga Sibugay National High School during their World Teachers Day Organization. I was able to discuss the responsible use of social media and the #MakeItSafePh campaign. Being an advocate means influencing others in whatever way we can. We can send positive messages in different ways. If we want to change the world, then we should start with ourselves. Let’s #MakeItSafePh