calling out on fake profiles

I want to discuss something I saw in the community recently: accounts that call out other accounts for being fake. To put it simply, profiles that share or expose other accounts for being fake or stealing images are considered to be in violation of our Community Guidelines because they encourage the bullying of other users. Accounts dedicated to doing this will be removed.

Before continuing, I want to acknowledge that I know a lot of these accounts are created with the best intentions. People want to protect the community from disingenuous people and encourage the sharing of original work.

Unfortunately, these accounts are built on a foundation of encouraging the harassment of other users. Not everyone who shares unoriginal works does it maliciously. The internet has become a place to share, and not everyone is as educated as some of you are about the value of attribution.

PicsArt, like other image sharing sites, is a platform. We cannot be the police of originality for every account or every image. We do our best to only feature original content in curated feeds, but it’s impossible for us to only “allow” original photos on PicsArt. Even if an image shared to PicsArt is found on the web, we have no way of proving that the user isn’t the owner or that they don’t have permission to use the image. Moreover, we can’t verify the rights of every image on the internet.

When someone who isn’t the image owner/creator reports these images to us, there frankly isn’t much we can do. However, we do have a process for the image owner to report the image via a DMCA takedown notice. This is done by reporting the image in the app and saying, “This is my image.” This process is the only scalable process for a company our size—which is why it’s also what Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, etc do as well. We deal with these reports very, very quickly—often within a few hours.

Because there isn’t anything we can do when another user reports an image to us as “stolen,” we don’t encourage our users to be original content police. The only thing that comes from accounts that call out others is harassment. Remember: not everyone shares unoriginal work with malicious intent. There are a lot of different cultures on the internet when it comes to image sharing.

PicsArt will also encourage the use of original or remixed images through recognition and we encourage you, our community, to build relationships with the people you think are worth spending time with. If you see an unoriginal work, please politely let the user know that you think they should only share original work if you feel so inclined, but don’t let it ruin your day. The best way to see great content is to build a strong community. Additionally, if you know the original owner of the content, you can absolutely reach out to them so that they can report the image as their own via DMCA takedown.

If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask!