PLEASE SPREAD THIS WARNING FAR AND WIDE TO ALL READERS/WRITERS/AUTHORS WHO USE WATTPAD IN ANY FORM AND/OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO USES WATTPAD! PLEASE SHARE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND ADD THE HASHTAG #Wattpad SO IT IS NOTICED! THIS IS NOT OKAY WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.
You know, for the past three years I’ve had nothing but praise for Wattpad as an author. (For those of you unfamiliar with the site, it’s an online free platform to read and share stories.) I thought it was great to get yourself some exposure, get feedback, connect with other authors and your readers directly! And it is great on that front.
But suddenly I’ve also discovered a very infuriating and potentially harmful side to Wattpad for all authors.
Wattpad isn’t as trustworthy and secure as it claims to be.
For the past month now I have been dealing with a disgruntled Wattpad user who was angry over the fact an account of mine was shut down. (It is not my main account.) This user admitted, to me and others, to trying to obtain the password to my account so that they could take it over and post a new part to the books on my account. An action they never once consulted me over or obtained permission to do so. It was completely behind my back.
In light that they couldn’t get into my account, this user then did the next best thing and created an account that was a duplication of my own, with full intentions of mimicking and continuing my account as their own.
Once this was brought to my attention from fellow friends, I immediately reported to Wattpad of the duplication and attempted theft of my account. I was advised to “mute” the user so they would not be able to contact me at all after that and I did so on all fronts.
However, this user didn’t stop there. After muting the duplicated account, I received messages from a separate account that held an admittance of attempted theft among other things. This user still found a way to contact me.
So, naturally, once more I muted that account as well and reported the confession to Wattpad.
I received no help in return from Wattpad, as if they weren’t even at all concerned about the attempted theft of my account, or that this person was forging my account as if it was their own. They refused to shut the user down.
I was even directed to submit a DMCA when I found the user’s profile description to say they were going to post a book using my title in order to continue what I was doing on my own account because they couldn’t obtain by my password. After filing my report, I received this from Wattpad support, “You may not submit a DMCA when there is no work that is violating your copyright. Similar plots, themes, characters, and titles do not constitute as copyright. Continuous reports of false submissions will result in account suspension.”
But it wasn’t a similar plot or theme I was reporting. This person had every intention of continuing my book on their profile, and the proof laid right in their description. Still, I was shut down for an alleged false claim — even when I was directed to fill out the claim by them in the first place — despite everything that had already happened and once again nothing was done about the user.
Then a week went by with no activity. I frequently monitored this duplicated account since Wattpad would do nothing, worried something more would happen and absolutely livid Wattpad didn’t take its security seriously.
Then suddenly I received a third harassment message from yet another account of the same user. A message that was a direct slam at me for muting their accounts and ceasing communication. Livid, I again reported the harassment, even provided screen shots of the confession to trying to gain the password to my account and the slam for further proof of my claim.
And what did Wattpad do?
Instead of taking action against this user for harassment and attempted theft, I was told “Repeated submissions are considered an abuse of our system which is in direct violation of our conduct guidelines. If you continue to submit these reports we will have to take necessary action.”
I was just threatened to be suspended or shut down myself as if I am the bad guy in this claim. All because someone duplicated my account and it isn’t considered a security risk someone tried to steal my account and then mimic it because they are seeing it as a “similar theme” even after all the proof I provided. In fact, they didn’t even address the proof I provided in their shut down message to me, and that was something they asked specifically for.
Wattpad is not as secure as they say they are.
Wattpad is not as trustworthy as they claim to be.
Wattpad apparently believes it is okay and not a violation of their conduct guidelines for anyone to log on, pick a random user, and then go duplicate their account using a similar username and pretend to be them.
This is not right. This is not fair. They are essentially advocating account theft by refusing to do anything and instead threatening to shut me down if I do not back off. The worst part, they are claiming their reasoning as “similar story lines or plot themes are not enough to constitute a copyright violation in a story, and much less for a general account theme.”
And yes, I understand titles and similar story lines aren’t protected by copyright. But when a user deliberately tries to steal control of your account – admits it even, and then goes to create a duplicated account of yours because they couldn’t gain access to what they wanted, they consider that no violation at all in any form?
How is that okay? How is attempted theft and duplication okay?
The answer is it isn’t, and the public needs to know where Wattpad stands when it comes to the security of user accounts and the safety of not being forged by someone else.
Wattpad needs to be made aware something needs to change in their policy.
This is not okay. And this is dangerous to authors everywhere.
Please share this, and please help me get the word out before it happens to someone else, before people realize the enormous, dangerous loophole Wattpad holds in their guidelines.