Let’s talk about the great Pin theft heist… and the big spam fest.
Many other Pinterest creators out there will have witnessed the declining credibility of Pinterest over the past few years.
Sadly, our experience reveals that the platform has an incessant problem with spam, one that in our opinion Pinterest doesn’t deal with satisfactorily or fairly.
In fact, it appears to be getting worse. We’ve suffered first hand through our once popular Good Body Pinterest account.
In this article we’ll explore the growing issue on Pinterest and their lack of action in our case to protect content creators.
What’s the problem with Pinterest?
Since 2018 we’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars creating bespoke artwork to grow our following on Pinterest.
Only for Pinterest’s “intelligent” algorithms to seemingly decide that the unique artwork we created for the platform is not “our” artwork and in fact belongs to the spam accounts that have stolen it from us to link to deceptive websites and content.
We believe that due to these stolen pins, we’ve witnessed the demise of our account over the past few years.
For reasons we can’t understand, Pinterest seemed to stop displaying a number of our pins in their search results, instead appearing to decide that the low quality accounts that had stolen these images were the original creators of the artwork.
Pinterest claim that their software is getting better every day:
Spammers will sometimes create Pins with misleading links or follow you in hopes that you’ll visit their profile and click on their Pins. The technology we use to combat spam gets better every day, but it’s possible you’ll come across spam while using Pinterest.
That’s certainly not our experience, and a quick Google search will show you that it’s not the experience of many others either.
You can see as far back as 2020 that this was a growing problem.
Take a look at Pinterest’s own community blog and this comment from one user, in particular:
The first thing Pinterest can start doing is stop blocking/spamming out/shadow banning original content creators. It happens on the daily with real websites, creators and then the spam gets pushed higher. It cannot be that hard to have a verified system on URLs. Additionally, since Pinterest operates on an image system that can detect the same image for its analytics as well as DCMAs, it should be easy to register our images to our account by image match. In May I had to file over 500 DCMAs to remove my OWN images that had been stolen and were beating my own SEO with my image (using my SEO as well). And then the spammers have this whole system where they use forwarding URLs so if they get banned, their final destination URL isn’t banned. We need a lot more manual checks on URLs.
We couldn’t agree more with this comment, and relate to the experience.
After reading a really useful article about Pinterest spam on the blog site Writing From Nowhere, we contacted Pinterest to raise our concerns about appearing to be shadow banned and received this response:
Thanks for reaching out.
We looked into this and found a bug in our spam blocker that was mistakenly flagging safe content. We’re working on this now to get everything back to normal – this may take several days.
We apologize for any inconvenience. We work hard to keep spammy links off of Pinterest and at times the system flags false-positives. We appreciate your help here, and as always, welcome any feedback.
Since receiving this response we’ve seen no real improvement on the account, and there appears to be more stolen pins than ever.
It’s hard to understand how their processes mean they’re unable to recognize what belongs to our brand.
We are always the first person to publish the content, we have a distinctive graphic style and every single pin has our logo.
Employing a full time member of staff would appear to be the only way to deal with this problem properly.
But who pays for this?
We’ve already spent thousands creating artwork to have it stolen. Now we’re expected to pay in time and resources to report it?
The impact of Pinterest Spam
There have been many different impacts on our business due to Pinterest spam:
- Devalued our brand — Probably the biggest impact has been the devaluing of our brand. Spam accounts steal our artwork and link to low quality, deceptive and spammy websites. Our logo is then associated with this deception by the user.
- Lost website traffic — We have lost website traffic as the spam content is directing people to these low quality sites.
- Wasted investments — Money spent on creating unique content is wasted as instead of driving traffic to TheGoodBody.com, it is going elsewhere.
- Lack of trust in the platform — Our trust in Pinterest and our decision to invest in content for the platform has been affected, we talk more about that below.
- Poor user experience — If Pinterest don’t care about content creators, then surely they care about the user experience? Users are being led to spammy websites, impacting on their perception of the platform and the Pinterest brand.
What happens when you report a pin on Pinterest?
In our experience, not enough.
Pinterest makes it a very tedious and incredibly time-consuming process to report stolen pins (read how to do this in our FAQ section).
Not only that but despite reporting accounts for multiple infringements, Pinterest seems to allow the accounts to continue on its platform.
Some of these accounts do not have a single piece of original artwork and are built on hundreds and sometimes thousands of stolen pins.
The biggest kick in the teeth?
These stolen pins regularly appear on our home feed in Pinterest!
It’s incredibly frustrating when you’ve spent hours and dollars developing visuals with a designer and content writer, to see Pinterest serving up the spammy sites that have stolen it.
The cynic may even say that Pinterest is more concerned with the number of active users on its platform and for this reason allows it to continue. These numbers are of course critical for investors.
According to Pinterest’s own website (as of 13 April 2023):
Pinterest respects the intellectual property rights of others and we expect people on Pinterest to do the same. It’s our policy—in appropriate circumstances and at our discretion—to disable or terminate the accounts of people who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing copyrights or other intellectual property rights.
We find this statement astonishing.
We’ve reported 10, 20, 30 and in some cases even more stolen pins from the same account.
These accounts we’ve reported do not have any original artwork. All they have done is stolen pin images from other accounts and passed them off as their own.
Yet, Pinterest doesn’t appear to have deemed these “appropriate circumstances” to take further action, apart from removing the pins that have been reported.
We’ve even emailed different intellectual property departments at Pinterest and highlighted some of the offending accounts.
We went as far as telling them exactly which other Pinterest accounts were having their intellectual property stolen by specific accounts.
We told Pinterest that the accounts didn’t have any unique artwork and were not the creators of the artwork they claimed they were.
The response we got?
When we get your DMCA notice, we’ll take whatever action we think is appropriate, which may include removing the reported content from Pinterest.
We have absolutely no idea how an account that has had over 30 DMCA notices just from us is still active on Pinterest.
How can they simply remove that reported content and allow the account to continue posting stolen artwork?
Going back to a snippet from the quote from Pinterest’s own website:
…in appropriate circumstances and at our discretion—to disable or terminate the accounts of people who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing copyrights or other intellectual property rights.
We’ve emailed Pinterest to ask which definition of the word “repeatedly” they use but they failed to respond.
- Once is a single offense
- Twice is a repeat offense
- Thirty times is 29 repeat offenses?
So why is this and other cases not deemed “appropriate” to “disable or terminate the accounts of people who repeatedly infringe”?
We’ve reported one account with over 30 repeat offenses and yet it is still active on Pinterest. That’s over 30 repeat DMCA notices from us, who knows how many it’s received from other accounts.
What kind of message does this send out to the spammers who are flourishing on Pinterest?
Keep going, it’s profitable and so long as user numbers grow, Pinterest will take no action?
FAQs about Pinterest Spam and Stolen Pins
What is a stolen pin on Pinterest?
A stolen pin is when another account takes your image, uploads it to their account and relinks it to their content. It can be detrimental to your brand and will mean website traffic is lost to spammy and unreliable websites. It is unfortunately from our experience a very common occurrence on Pinterest.
Why are people stealing pins?
You’ve created a great visual that has generated clicks and traffic to your website. Other creators will recognize this and redirect people to their website without having to put in the effort that you did creating it!
How to find stolen pins on Pinterest?
Pinterest’s algorithm recognises when you pin something, and aims then to find similar things that you might like.
There’s a chance you won’t even need to look for stolen pins, Pinterest might just serve them up for you, in your home feed!
If you recognize your artwork but the link is to a different website, then bad news, your Pinterest pin has been stolen.
How do I report a stolen pin on Pinterest?
When you click on an image in Pinterest you’ll notice three small dots at the top or side depending which device you’re using. Select ‘Report Pin’ and you’ll be asked the reason. At the bottom there is the option to select ‘My intellectual property/Copyright or trademark infringement’.
You’ll then be directed to fill in a Copyright or Trademark Infringement Notice. Both are detailed and complex forms, requiring you to provide proof of ownership of the pin.
In our experience, after much back and forth Pinterest will potentially remove the stolen pin from the relevant account. However despite Pinterest claiming they will deactivate the accounts of repeat offenders, the account will likely remain active, allowing it to continue stealing pins.
What is Pinterest doing to deal with stolen pins?
In our opinion — not nearly enough!
Pinterest claim “to disable or terminate the accounts of people who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing copyrights or other intellectual property rights”.
They will likely simply remove the pin and allow the account to continue with their theft. We have reported some accounts over 30 times, yet they are still active and have feeds full of our images.
Are you having a problem with Pinterest spam and struggling to get any help from the platform?
Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also if you’re from Pinterest, we’d love to speak to you directly about the contents of this article and our experience as a content creator.
The Good Body's Pinterest Archive
An archive of the artwork we have created for Pinterest:
Acupressure Mat Benefits
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/acupressure-mat-benefits/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/best-back-massager/
Back Pain Relief Products
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/best-back-pain-relief-products/
Benefits of Meditation
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/benefits-of-meditation/
Chronic Pain Statistics
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/chronic-pain-statistics/
Do Acupressure Mats Actually Work?
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/do-acupressure-mats-actually-work/
Gifts for People with Back Pain
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/gifts-for-people-with-back-pain/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/best-heating-pad/
Low Back Pain Q&As: with Dr. Kai Tiltmann, DC
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/low-back-pain-questions-and-answers/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/best-massage-chair/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/best-massage-cushion/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/5-best-tens-belts-back-pain/
TENS Unit Benefits
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/tens-unit-benefits/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/what-is-the-best-tens-unit/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/best-theragun-alternative/
Types of Massage
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/types-of-massage/
Ways to Decompress Your Spine
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/how-to-decompress-your-spine/
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-benefits/
Yoga Poses for Back Pain
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-poses-for-back-pain/
Yoga Poses for Beginners
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-poses-for-beginners/
Yoga Poses for Flexibility
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-poses-for-flexibility/
Yoga Poses for Runners
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-poses-for-runners/
Yoga Poses for Sleep
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-poses-for-sleep/
Yoga Poses for Strength
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/yoga-poses-for-strength/
Why a TENS Unit Won't Help You Build Muscle
The following artwork was created for: https://www.thegoodbody.com/what-does-a-tens-unit-do-for-muscles/