With an abundance of information — and the rise of AI — content creators need to be extra cautious about what and how they post. 

And even though the line can get a little blurry, there are a few ways to ensure that you are posting accurately and fairly. 

So read on as media update's Saads Abrahams shares the ins and outs of creating ethical content in the digital age.

Understanding copyright

One thing that every content creator needs to know and fully understand is copyright; so let's first take a look at what it encompasses. 

According to WIPO, "Copyright (or author's right) is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works."

Now, with everything going digital, the line can be a bit blurry at times; but if you know and understand copyright, you will be better equipped to not cross the line.

Understanding copyright will make sure that you know how to: 

  1. properly make use of someone else's work, and

  2. legally protect yourself when / if someone uses your work incorrectly. 

When it comes to digital copyright, there are a few types of digital media that are protected. 

These consist of: 

  • websites and web content

  • digitally created music

  • all types of digital video recordings, including motion pictures

  • software programmes, and

  • photographs and digital artwork.

The importance of attribution

Any content that you post online that you did not create yourself needs to be attributed. Giving proper credit can be done by providing a link or tagging the original creator in your post.

Giving credit to the original creator is incredibly important for a few reasons. It will make you come off as a credible source to your audience, and it also shows respect and admiration for the original creator. 

The other side of the coin is that you could face legal action for sharing someone's work as your own — which is the core of plagiarism. 

Be original 

The number one way to ensure that you are creating ethical content is by creating your own original content. Original content is new and unique content that you have written and not borrowed or copied from anyone else. 

The pros of creating original content include: 

  • an improved SEO ranking

  • establishing your credibility and trust

  • an increase in online shares, and

  • helping you become an industry thought leader. 

Some ways that you can ensure that you are creating original content is by: 

  • defining your audience and purpose

  • adding your voice and style

  • conducting thorough research, and 

  • making use of different formats.

Using AI

Ethically using AI to create content has been a touchy topic among content creators globally. 

We can say this for sure, though: There are some ethical aspects to consider, but there is a way for us content creators to work with AI — that is, if we are willing to only let it help enhance our work and not do our work for us. 

Some risks involved that you need to consider when using AI are as follows:

Privacy and data protection: AI tools have a vast amount of data at their disposal, so there is a risk that the tool has used personal information without someone's consent to generate your results. 

Bias and discrimination: The algorithm of the AI tool that you are using could be favouring one group over another, resulting in unfair and incorrect conclusions. 

Transparency and disclosure 

When creating content, you need to always be transparent with your audiences. Always. If you are posting a video on your social media with products that are sponsored, you need to disclose that this is a sponsored post.

Disclosing this information

By letting your audience know that "this post is sponsored", it lets them know that as much as this is your authentic work; it is also something you've been paid to create. This lets your followers know you are honest with them, and this fosters a sense of trust and credibility

What are your thoughts on ethical content creation? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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If you want to learn more about ethics in the media, check out Navigating the vast ocean of social media ethics. 

*Image courtesy of Canva