Flags

Turnitin’s algorithms look deeply at a document for any inconsistencies that would set it apart from a normal submission. If we notice something strange, we Flag it for you to review.

For example, essay mills and users looking to prevent similarity matching abuse text manipulation techniques by trying to pass off plagiarized content as genuine. These techniques, outlined below, are commonly found on YouTube and social media platforms as ways of ‘cheating Turnitin’.

A flag is not necessarily an indicator of a problem. However, we recommend you focus your attention there for further review.

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In this guide:

Flags for review

The Flags indicator lives on the similarity layer of the Similarity Report, indicated on the right side panel as a group of red icons. Flags are represented by a number and a red flag icon. Select this icon to open the Flags for Review panel.

If one or more Flags are found, an overview will be displayed in this panel. Select the Learn more about this Flag button to learn more about why this behavior has been flagged as strange or unusual.

Replaced characters

Some characters in foreign alphabets can look similar to the expected alphabet. To the naked eye, it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell them apart. Turnitin automatically swaps these characters out when scanning a submission so they will not affect the Similarity Report. The intent is to try and prevent a potential similarity match.

Hidden text

Hidden quotation marks can influence the amount of quoted material recognized by Turnitin in a document. For example, if an instructor excludes correctly referenced matches using our Exclusions functionality, in a manipulated document this could also hide plagiarized content.

In the image above, the student has put the letter "i" between each of these words and made the letter white hoping that the sentence is read by Turnitin as one complete word instead of a plagiarized sentence.

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