Bullying may be the most pressing issue that Twitter is fighting at the moment, but a close second is… joke theft? That’s what I can gather from the company’s decision to start taking down a number of tweets that have been reported as being stolen, with the person originally posting the tweet being referred to as a copyright holder. Twitter hasn’t been specific about what it considers copyright infringement when it comes to jokes so, true to their nature, Twitter users have been testing the limits themselves.
Joke thieves beware: Twitter seems to be cracking down on plagiarism. In a freewheeling universe home to millions of spambots, fake celebrities and trolls, it’s no surprise that many Twitter accounts habitually crib popular 140-character quips to rack up followers. But Twitter now seems to be using copyright rules to police this comedic fraud. The social network is erasing and hiding a number of tweets reported as stolen and referring to the original poster as the “copyright holder,” as first spotted by the account @plagiarismbad. The joke in question here was first tweeted by freelance writer Olga Lexell, who said in a tweet that she had explained to Twitter that such jokes are part of her professional livelihood, according to The Verge. Lexell told the site that she has reported other tweets as stolen, and the company has taken action within a few days with no follow-up questions.