Like when your friend shares some sort of wacky video from some Facebook page with a name like "Funniest Sh*t Ever." That friend probably saw it on another friend's feed, who saw it on some other friend's, and so on. Sure, the video is entertaining and probably worth a look/share.
But the person who created the Facebook page Funniest Sh*t Ever had nothing to do with the creation of that video. That distinction goes to the talented, hardworking people that actually produced that video. Often at some expense and always with some level of effort. And they deserve credit, in the form of a direct link to their content.
The only thing the Funniest Sh*t Ever person did was take time to steal the video from YouTube, or whatever service it was put on by the owner, and put it on their Facebook page, urging every to "OMG this is so funny...have to SHARE!. I love working from HOME click my link to learn how to be the best mom." Not only time, but also effort; you are assured that you cannot "accidentally" steal a video from the internet. It takes a bit of know-how and it's never by mistake.
That person, is a thief. And a sorry ass, ta boot.
Closer to home, for me, since I am somewhat involved in the food writing and recipe creation world (don't snicker, it's sort of true...OK, so maybe it's more of an "interest" than "involvement"), is the ongoing and egregious theft of not only recipes, but photos, in the form of posts that contain someone else's recipe and photo, and suggest you "share share share." I am seeing this every day, and it seems to be picking up steam.
I'd say about 100% of the time, the goal of the thief is to drive traffic to their Facebook page, urging unsuspecting people to join some group like "Skinny Minnie's Diet," at which point they are very likely going to be sold something. More often than not, there is some sort of personal and financial advantage to getting people to "follow" or share the stolen recipe or join the page. Other times, I suspect, people are just lonely, and want the attention.
Examples of this theft can be found all over Facebook (and the internet in general). I found three in about 4 minutes today:
At least that thief didn't crop The Half Baked Life's URL watermark out of the picture. Whether that oversight stemmed from arrogance, ignorance, or laziness, or the very unattractive combination of all three, is anyone's guess. I'm going with "all three."
But some other page, promoting a weight loss scheme, apparently did crop out that pertinent information (or stole a version of the photo that was cropped already) when they lifted the recipe for Avocado Chicken Enchiladas, which belongs to Six Sisters' Stuff.
This pathetic Facebook page claims "These are THE BEST Avocado Chicken Enchiladas EVER!!" How many Avocado Chicken Enchiladas do you think this person has eaten in his/her life to make such a claim? Do you think this person even made these Avocado Chicken Enchiladas? Of course not. This person is too busy stealing. Thieves don't cook. Thieves steal. And thieves always urge you to "**Share to save your timeline so you can use it later**". This page is selling some crap that I can't even comprehend. No thanks, shithead.
Another Facebook user has come across and lifted what is apparently a recipe and photo for the Neiman Marcus Dip (whatever that is). It appears that the original content and photo were from a website called Just a Spoonful of.
I have no idea if the recipe was created by Just a Spoonful of, but it appears that the photos belong to the owner of that website. The photo, beautiful in its original state, was stolen and debased to the point of blurry unrecognizable absurdity, and passed around on various websites, including Facebook, where this particular person very much wants you to "SHARE share share share shareso [sic] so you can find it on your timeline [bunch of fucking hearts]" and join her "fitness group." No thanks, asshole.
Bloody hell did this website simply take the whole post from Just a Spoonful of for their own, lock stock and barrel? Good fucking grief. Are you going to buy that back pain book they are pimping? Holy shit. Don't even click that link.
The shitheads and assholes are everywhere. There must be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands on Facebook, mining for likes and shares.
The thing is, and this is what makes this whole thing baffling to me, sharing a link on FaceBook is not a very effective way of storing information so you can "use it later." In fact, there is no real way to search the stuff you've shared. So even if you could remember, for example, that you shared OMG THE BEST CRAB DIP EVER [bunch of fucking hearts] ✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿, some time back in 2010, you really have no way of accessing that information. Go ahead. Try it. Search for something you've liked or shared.
The only thing "sharing" and "liking" does for you, in the context of Facebook, is present this stolen material to your friends, some of whom might go ahead and share and like, perpetuating the spread of the stolen material. Remember the Faberge shampoo commercial from the 70s? "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on." This is what the thieves are hoping for. They want you to share those posts so others will do the same. This is all they do. They don't provide anything useful. They are not cooks. They have no interest in food. They are not a reliable source of anything. They do not create content. They should be ignored, rather than rewarded with shares and attention.
The people who start these pages and steal this content are bottom-dwellers and thieves, plain and simple. They reply on the gullibility and naïveté of good people, people's lack of appreciation of the importance of copyright, and the overall lack of understanding of how Facebook works, all for their own personal gain. Based on the conversations I've had with the very nice folks who share these things (family, friends, half of the planet apparently), I get no indication that they know the work was stolen, and are innocently just passing it on to friends.
As a FaceBook user who is presumably interested in collecting and sharing recipes, it's pretty simple: don't share this stuff if it's obviously stolen. And it is almost always stolen.
- Unless a link to the source of the recipe/photo is provided, it's probably stolen.
- If the watermark in the image doesn't match the FaceBook user's account, it's probably stolen.
- If a video is playing from a FaceBook account, rather than having a link to YouTube or another video sharing service, then it has very likely been stolen.
- And for fuck's sake, if the picture/recipe is begging that you "share, like, repost" it is guaranteed to be stolen; creative people don't have to beg for attention.
So I ask you: reconsider the sharing and liking, no matter how much you are urged to "✔ Like ✔ “Share” ✔ Comment ✔ Repost ✔Follow me ✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿ Follow/Add me for daily recipes, fun & handy tips, motivation, DIY ideas and feel free to share your favorite things". If you want to find the source of the work in order to share that, copy and paste the recipe into google, and chances are you will find the rightful owner. Heck, you might want to even contact that person to let them know their work was stolen.
If you are seriously interested in cooking and eating better and saving and sharing recipes:
- Visit well-regarded sites like Serious Eats, Chez Pim or Rasa Malaysia, or any of the thousands of others, or reference a list of great blogs on reputable sites like Saveur for lists of such sites. I assure you that there aren't enough days left in your life to cook all of the fantastic meals that you find on high quality sites. And of course, there's usually a Facebook "like" button on blog posts.
- Open a Pinterest account (although they have their own issues with copyright infringement), and "pin" your favorite recipes there. Just about very serious blog has a little link to pin its content to your Pinterest account. The Pinterest app looks beautiful on your smart phone or tablet, so you can have that content wherever you are. Pinterest interfaces with Facebook, so your friends will easily see what's turning you on at the moment, and you'll be directing them to the rightful owners of that content.
You will then be cooking and eating very well. Your days will be filled with looking at beautiful photography, reading thoughtful, intelligent and informed writing, browsing inspired and Velveeta-free recipes, and you will be supporting creative, talented, hardworking people for years to come.
Share and like and pin the fuck out of that stuff to your heart's content.