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Copied Someone’s Joke On Twitter? Your Tweet May Be Deleted

Stolen jokes are an epidemic, and Twitter is finally cracking down on tweet plagiarism.

Copied Someone’s Joke On Twitter? Your Tweet May Be Deleted
[Photo: Bloomua via Shutterstock]

Ever been the victim of plagiarism on Twitter–or, dare we say, the shameful purveyor of it? The social network seems to be putting an end to those pirated tweets by cracking down on users who steal jokes to inflate their Twitter cred.

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The Twitter account @plagiarismbad reported Saturday that Twitter had taken down five tweets that poached a joke allegedly first posted by freelance writer Olga Lexell:

The tweets were removed at Lexell’s request, and in their place reads text that says they were “withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder.” In a tweet, Lexell explained the rationale behind her appeal, noting that the jokes were her “intellectual property” and copied without attribution:

Lexell told The Verge that she has previously filed requests to have stolen jokes removed, and Twitter usually acts “within a few days,” without asking for additional information.

Any Twitter user can flag plagiarized tweets through its web form, which deals expressly with copyright infringement. The company then green-lights the requests that appear legitimate, and gives the users accused of plagiarizing 10 days to file a “counter notice,” according to The Verge.

This sounds like good news for writers and comedians who have been victims of joke theft, but as Twitter revealed in a transparency report last year, many organizations cry copyright theft even when the material in question does not meet those requirements. The Verge reports that about one-third of Twitter’s requests are not actually copyright violations–and some, in fact, are just attempts to censor criticism.

In recent months, Twitter has provided its users with an increasing number of tools to combat bad behavior on the platform, honoring requests to take down revenge porn and simplifying the process of flagging abusive tweets. Just last week, the company introduced a safety center aimed at teaching Twitter users about online safety and how to address harassment.

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[via The Verge]

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About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.

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