LinkedIn has a plagiarism problem and it’s one parent Microsoft could solve.
As regular users of the platform have noticed, it’s become increasingly common to stumble across content posted by one user that is re-posted word-for-word without attribution by another.
This morning, I came across the delightful, but decidedly tired trope about the mathematician Abraham Wald realizing how to re-enforce World War II planes against anti-aircraft fire.
Anyone who has been on LinkedIn for any length of time has seen this posted many times.
Today, the story was ripped off by Matthew Potter, the founder of Pray.com, and Muneeb Sikander, a senior consultant and economist.
How the post is relevant to either person is unclear, though I could argue it’s more appropriate to the economist than the guy who runs the “No. 1 app for daily prayer and faith-based media.”
The only thing that is clear is that neither of these people wrote the content.
Where this story originated, I could not say.
But Microsoft could.
The company that just decided to invest $10 billion on ChatGPT could analyze drafts and detect when people are posting stories that were already posted word-for-word on the platform.
Microsoft has the engineering capability to prompt the writer to either a) reconsider stealing content or b) including attribution c) blocking the post.
LinkedIn invested heavily to achieve a near product miracle: transforming a jobs/recruiting platform into a social network. And they did it about 15 years after the company was created. Twitter and Facebook started out as social platforms.
Writers find it discouraging to be ripped off.
A friend, Rich Falk-Wallace, CEO of Arcana, recently started posting original content on LinkedIn. He writes highly technical analyses about the digital asset market.
This week, his six-point checklist to evaluate crypto projects was evidently so good that someone re-posted the graphic and text in its entirety without attribution.
Obviously, it’s not illegal to do that.
But it’s dishonest and strange behavior for a business-oriented site to condone.
Journalists would be fired for plagiarizing. Students would get an F. Office workers plagiarizing a PowerPoint they found online would certainly face consequences.
It’s also a serious issue for LinkedIn as a platform.
Not today or tomorrow, but the growth of the platform depends at some level on rewarding creators, not thieves.