Did you hear the one about Twitter and the joke stealing problem?

Heard the one about the ‘margaritas and the protein shake’? Me too, just a few times:

Just a quick search on Twitter resulted in these very similar jokes, and there was plenty of other examples not included above.

Passing funny tweets off as your own has become a regular occurrence on the social media platform. Amusing photos (and videos) are also often re-shared and made to look like the person tweeting it created the content. All it takes is a quick look at the responses to the tweet to see people calling the original tweeter out for stealing it. The usual response you see? “I never said it was my photo/video/joke”

The problem with that excuse is that the tweeter is relying on people who have not seen the photo before and will therefore believe it belongs to them. All those people then retweet it without a second thought. The more time you spend on Twitter though, the more you see the same jokes being shared again and again, and they often go viral. Are we so desperate to go viral and be ‘internet famous’ that we resort to stealing jokes?

For me, it’s not great practise (and one all organisational Twitter accounts should avoid at all costs). My trust in people on Twitter is at all time low because it’s highly likely that hilarious tweet doing the rounds already did the rounds once before.

There are some really funny people on Twitter who are posting original jokes and don’t get the recognition they deserve. It’s also possible that their jokes have already been stolen and tweeted out by someone else which is a huge shame.

So what can be done about it? Twitter does have a history of removing copied jokes, but this relies on the original writer of the joke to be aware of the replica tweets, file a complaint with Twitter and hope Twitter does something about it.

What we can do as users of the platform, is double check a funny tweet before we share it. Look in the comments to see if anyone is calling the tweeter out for stealing it or do a Twitter search to see if it’s been tweeted before.

The other thing we can do is follow and support comedians and writers on Twitter putting out original and funny content. Why not share your favourite funny Tweeters using #FunnyFollows so other people can discover them.

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