Tweet Theft: What To Do When You’re Being Plagiarized On Twitter

Have you ever sent out a tweet you were particularly proud of, one that was well-crafted, with the optimum number of characters, that garnered a significant number of retweets and replies?

Have you ever then seen that same tweet posted verbatim on someone else’s Twitter feed, without credit?

Turns out, plagiarism is a pernicious problem in more arenas than the literary world.

First off, keep in mind that your tweets aren’t copyrighted. You don’t personally own the language that you tweeted, however witty or well-written it is.

Plus, if it’s Twitter newbies doing the plagiarizing, they may just not be familiar with Twitter etiquette yet.

But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to get ripped off by other tweeters. So what’s a Twitterer to do?

According to FavStar, Twitter doesn’t clearly state it, but they will actually suspend a plagiarist if the right process is followed.

These are the steps in that process:

1. Check that the tweets being copied are actually original. Are you 100% positive that you were the one who tweeted first?

2. If so, write a public tweet asking the accused plagiarist to stop plagiarizing you.

3. If they continue after you’ve asked them to stop, write up a clear ticket explaining your case to Twitter. Include links to your original tweets, the copies, your tweet asking the plagiarist to cut it out, and the tweets that followed your plea.

FavStar has it that after a week or two, Twitter will likely warn the user to stop. And if he or she doesn’t at that point, Twitter will likely suspend them.

Harsh? Or justified?

Before number 2, after number 1, we’d probably add in “Send the plagiarist a DM asking them to stop” before you resort to public shaming.

In addition, think about the content of the tweets that are being plagiarized. Are they sharp one-liners that help pay your bills as a headlining stand-up comedian? Are they pithy headline summaries of your blog posts (that you want people to share as much as possible, anyway)? Use your judgement.

Have you ever been Twitter-plagiarized? We want to hear from you!

(Image from Shutterstock)

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