Let's discuss verification of user accounts posting previous work, to prevent impersonation

in steemit •  3 years ago 

As the Steemit platform grows, it will happen that thieves will come here and attempt to impersonate a writer, photographer, or other creative producer, copy and repost their work, and get upvotes. I think this potential issue should be addressed before July 4th, so that a precedent is set and early instances of it happening could hopefully be resolved without the thief getting paid.

It's great that people who share their work over the internet, whether it's writing, photos, art, etc. are coming here and getting rewarded for sharing their previous work to Steemit. It's also great that Steemit users get to see some of this work that would otherwise be hiding in the shadows of the Internet. But it's sometimes hard to tell if the work is owned by the account posting it to Steemit. When there is money involved, this can create a problem.

The easiest way to verify the identity of a creator reposting their work here would be to ask for a simple message to be posted on the blog or other site they originally posted their work on. Perhaps they could link to the verification in an introductory post.


It's not always easy for voters to know or care where what they're seeing is coming from. I have Googled bits of text from writing and reverse image searched photos when I wanted to know if the original author was posting it or not. Most people probably won't care to.

Active, informed voters can look for an introduction post from the account posting, but what better way would there be to disseminate that someone is verified?

Let's have a discussion with your ideas and thoughts on how to make sure the real creators are getting rewarded on this platform.

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I can tell you how streemian.com will tackle the problem: It requires "verification" from the platform we are linking.


People that want to link their reddit account need to authenticated against reddit using Oauth. Only after successful verification will streemian.com link the account and auto cross-post content

RSS Blogs

Later this month, streemian.com will allow people to have the content of their blog cross posted on Steem using RSS feeds.
To verify ownership of an account, streemian.com will require users to post a specific token in a post and also need to verify a mail address (not required for reddit). Only after those two verification steps have been completed, will streemian.com auto-cross-post content from RSS-enable feeds to Steem.

NOTE, all content that is crossposted by streemian by a verified account will be posted under an account we will create for that specific user. That way, the content owner gets his reward while Streemian.com just simplifies the process for them.

Wikk you have an automatic canonical so that we dont get penalized for duplicate content?

looking forward for the RSS feature btw


  ·  3 years ago (edited)

And for the record, I think posting things that you didn't create is ok (I've done it myself, a-la reddit), as long as there's the bare minimum of saying something to the effect of "I didn't make this" if it's not obvious, but ideally attribution and linking (when it's something like an image) or brief, selected quotation with link to original posting (with writing or articles).

I have some ideas about this from my experiences at Medium. The same thing happened there with low-life writers ripping off good writers and reposting the content as their own. This will happen here, so I think if there are community members dedicated to investigating this issue, then maybe they should form a group who works together and reviews complaints. There needs to be a complaints system in place to handle this problem. I'll keep thinking of ways to deal with this..........The copycats and spineless marketers are swiftly on their way here. Let's stay vigilant and work together to share knowledge. Maybe we can start a dedicated area that's dedicated to this cause. That way information can be posted and shared about these thefts. Then those members will either be banned or something. I wonder what @ned or @dantheman thinks about this?

Steemit is in it's early stages of expansion, if we are to question every new member and ask them for verification, we risk to turn off a lot of people from this platform. I upvote simple posts by people to encourage them to hang around and do better, instead of asking them to be super writers from day one. Later they will start to tell the difference and adjust. We should let everyone decide for themselves what post is worthy of an upvote or a downvote, if the author is discovered to have made false claims as to ownership of the content they posted, then steemians should get a link in the form of "report this" for various reasons, like copyright violations, impersonation, or whatever. This has to be considered and tested wisely, we should not attempt to police steemit or create some sort of authority over users. Do not ask people to take pics of themselves and post it on steemit to verify themselves, this should be a personal choice. A blogger is not required to verify his/her identity to post on a decentralized blockchain, if they do not wish to do so. I know people might be concerned because there is a financial motive attached, but that should not make us forget that steemians have the right to privacy. Let's deal with this issue slowly and not rush to make rules.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Certainly Steem(it) is and will remain permissionless. I'm not saying anywhere that it should be a requirement to verify yourself, and certainly don't think a picture verification is needed either (it wouldn't be useful for people other than public figures anyway).

As a voter, I do want to know if someone is who they claim to be though. Again, it's all up to the voters, there's no policing here. If there's more financial incentive for people reposting their work to simply verify that they have editorial control over the original source or their known/active social accounts, I think it will be an easy and painless decision.

We should let everyone decide for themselves what post is worthy of an upvote or a downvote

I certainly want to know of the poster is a scammer before upvoting. That's not a requirement, it is an opportunity.

That's true if the scammer is attempting to extract money from readers with obvious fraud, but when it comes to social media and in particular to steemit.com rewarding for content, we should only consider the content not the poster, unless we have clear evidence the poster has violated someones intellectual rights, we should be flexible and not harass the poster to prove his identity. Mind you I am talking about the poster's privacy and not supporting theft of intellectual property for material gains. The situation that we had here is as follows, a good writer copied her previous work that was posted elsewhere to steemit, she got an instant response from the readers with up-votes that rewarded her nicely, should we have waited a few days to investigate if the content was plagiarized or not before casting our vote? of course not we are to give the poster the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time give the original author if he finds out that his intellectual property was stolen, a way to report it to the community, hence my suggestion to add a report button. Will some people get away with stealing someones else's work? yes, but it's a small trade off compared to policing every post. Of course I will not be happy if someone does steal someone else's work and gets SP/SD rewards for it, because he will be stealing from the entire community not just the original author,. Maybe now we have time to even check for that because the pay period is long, but what happens when we only have a couple of days before payment is due? also who will be the decision maker if action is to be taken? with a decentralized block-chain social media like steemit the action should be built into the system and tested against abuse.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Verification by posting a link on the original site when reposting old content is not difficult at all. No one is expecting a DNA test here, just some way of showing that it wasnt copy-pasted by a third party (which not only rips off the original author potentially, but every other good poster, since posting rewards come from a shared pool)

As I said before this is an opportunity not a requirement. Writers who want to repost old stuff and still get upvotes from discerning voters can go to a tiny bit of extra effort.

Could 2-FA be used? Require a poster to click a link in an email before submitting a post.

That's not the kind of verification I'm going for. What I'm talking about is an optional voluntary way for people who are crossposting or reposting their own blog or photos or anything else, stuff that is already accessible on the internet elsewhere, to verify it's them. This is so upvoters will know they aren't supporting a thief who is simply taking them and claiming them as their own. In theory, there would be incentive to verify one's self when reposting or crossposting.

A suggsestion on impersonation and original content.

Good to read that there are already plans to verify content linked to other platforms. I would like though to suggest something more daring, although not expecting to be implemented at all or in the near future.

There are a number of blockchain services out there offering alias registration, be it NXT, Namecoin or other. A first step would be to offer an alternative of signing posts with a key which is related somehow with one of those platforms. To make sure that the content is original, all a user would have to do, is before publishing the content, to use another service among the many to register it on the blockchain as his own intellectual property.
Using these two technologies a user will always be able to prove ownership without necessarily revealing his identity, a feature that comes handy if one is residing in a country where oppressive regimes reign.
I hope that you people find this solution adequate and maybe implement it.

Thank you for the info.