You Can 'Mean Tweet' All You Want, But Steal Someone's Twitter Joke & You're In Serious Trouble

Attention, joke thieves! Twitter is deleting tweets that have been plagiarized, so if you want to share someone else's funny or poignant 140 characters or less, you had better give credit where credit is due.

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The social media giant has deleted at least five tweets recently, all stolen from Los Angeles freelance writer Olga Lexell. She tweeted, "Saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now i know god is on my side."

She reported at least five accounts who retweeted the joke as their own, and Twitter deleted them and replaced them with the text, "This Tweet has been withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder."

As a writer myself, I'm all about intellectual property ownership. I get it. There are ideas in my head, and I make my living by sharing them with others. Plagiarism is very bad, people, and I never ever want to condone it.

But this is Twitter we're talking about, and by Olga's own admission, the accounts that retweeted her were "spam accounts that repost tons of other people's jokes every day." I'm pretty sure most Twitter users have had at least one spam-bot RT (retweet) their stuff at some point or another.

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You know what would be great? If the people over at Twitter could crack down on online bullies instead of joke spammers. There's something about the anonymity of the Internet that makes certain people feel like they have the right to attack others whom they don't even know.

Because I have an online presence, I've been tweeted some pretty nasty stuff. Sometimes it's because of my political views, or my religion, or my marital status (divorced, thanks for asking), or how I raise my kids ... it seems like it's always something. I have been called a bitch, a whore, and a c*nt. I have been told my daughters will grow up to be the same. I've had people tell me they want to rape me. I block, I report it, but those people are still out there, somewhere in their mothers' basements, free to wreak havoc on other people. 

It's sick and it's twisted, and I wish that Twitter would take a stronger stance against monsters like that than crack down on spam-bots RT-ing jokes without attribution. But maybe that's just me.

 

Image via © Astock/Corbis

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