Twitter deletes stolen joke tweets

Posted on July 28, 2015


Everyone on Twitter considers themselves a comedy genius, or at least interesting enough to be tweeting in the first place in a desperate attempt to get people to like them. It’s like some sort of worldwide popularity contest, currently being won by Lady Gaga.

What most people on Twitter do have in common though is that they’re not funny. They’re not witty. Most of them, in fact, can barely string two words together without dropping letters.

This is where stealing tweets comes in. If you’re too intellectually challenged to come up with something witty yourself, you can just copy what someone else has said and claim it as your own. It’s what the internet is all about. The polite way to do this is to see someone’s tweet and retweet it, or at the very least ‘quote’ it, giving them the credit. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that. Copying their tweet word for word and tweeting it yourself, however, is bad form. It’s just not cricket. Yet it happens.

Many of the duplicate tweets come from automated accounts, which are simply scripts copying from a list of users or a keyword search parameter, and tweeting what they find. If anyone is following them and thinking what a cad they are, then that truly is a sad state of affairs. Some accounts though are real people (and I use the term ‘real’ very loosely) who seem to think it’s OK to just copy what someone else has said because, presumably, their heads are unburdened by individual thought.

Thankfully Twitter is, in some small way, doing something about this. A recent tweet by writer @runolgarun was copied and reposted by a number of automated accounts (and some vacuous people) and the tweet’s originator filed a copyright claim with Twitter. Yes, there is a such a thing. Twitter, to its credit, acted swiftly and removed the offending duplicates.

This simple action of a writer receiving the proper credit for her work should have been the end of the story, but this is Twitter, and stories never end with everyone patting someone on the back and saying “well done”. The story was picked up by a number of online sources, such as The Verge, Daily Dot and Mashable. Additionally, the writer has come in for some abuse from Twitter users for her actions – how dare she want credit for something she’s written?

You want to know what this tweet is, don’t you? Well, @runolgarun has since protected her account, perhaps due to some of the flak she was taking, but the tweet was:

“saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side”

Yeah, I didn’t think it was very funny either, but that’s not the point. The point is that you can’t just copy someone else’s work and pass it off as your own, even something as short and seemingly innocuous as 140-character tweet.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
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