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Twitter is erasing stolen jokes

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 25, 2015
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Hang around Twitter for long enough and there's a good chance that you'll see people rehashing jokes that clearly aren't theirs, whether they're spam bots or less-than-original friends. You might not see that copy-pasted humor for much longer, though: Plagiarism Is Bad has noticed that Twitter is deleting and hiding rip-off joke tweets due to reports "from the copyright holder." While the causes likely vary, freelance writer Olga Lexell says that it's because she genuinely depends on Twitter for a living. She's field-testing jokes, and would rather not have others claim them as their own.

The deletions could do some good for a social network where it's all too easy to pilfer text instead of retweeting. However, it also raises the potential for copyright abuse. Lexell notes to The Verge that Twitter usually scraps offending tweets without asking follow-up questions -- it's not clear just what research the company is doing to verify that the copyright claims are legit. After all, it's possible for someone to swipe content from other sites and pass it off as a Twitter first. We've reached out to Twitter to learn more. Here's hoping that the company is diligent, since you probably don't want to see your witty remarks pulled down simply because they're vaguely similar to some earlier saying.

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