Every week I get notified of someone who’s copying another person’s tweets without attribution. Sometimes it’s a Twitter newbie with 10 followers who doesn’t really understand it’s wrong, and other times it’s people with 100,000+ followers who knowingly steal high-quality tweets to get themselves retweeted and gain new followers.
Many Favstar users spend time crafting their tweets and persona, and have turned their tweets into an art form. Having their tweets stolen is extremely frustrating, and without knowing what you can do about it, it can make you feel helpless.
Twitter doesn’t clearly state it, but they will actually suspend a plagiarist if the right process is followed. The process involves the person being copied taking a couple of steps, and being patient with Twitter while the request works its way through the system.
It’s important that the person being plagiarized is the person who follows this process. Don’t report a plagiarist if they’re not copying your tweets. Instead, ask the person who is having their tweets stolen to follow this process.
If someone’s copying your tweets without attribution,
- Check the tweets being copied are original. Google them - if you find them on google with a timestamp dating before the tweets, they’re not original, so forget about it.
- If the tweets are original, then write a public tweet and ask the plagiarist to stop plagiarizing you. If they look like a Twitter newbie, give them the benefit of the doubt and explain why it’s not cool.
- If they continue after you’ve asked them to stop, write up a clear ticket explaining your case to Twitter. Use this form: https://support.twitter.com/forms/general and in the regarding box choose “My issue is not in this list”. Explain what is going on, and be sure to include links to your original tweets, the plagiarist’s copies, your tweet asking them to stop, and the original and their copies of your tweets that they’ve made AFTER you asked them to stop. Explain that you’ve googled to check your tweets are original. Explain that you asked the plagiarist to stop, and they haven’t.
- Give twitter some time to process this. It might take a week or two. If the plagiarist hasn’t deleted the tweets, then Twitter will likely warn the user to stop, and they’ll tell you they’ve warned the user.
- After Twitter has warned the plagiarist, if they continue, you need to update the ticket, saying the plagiarist hasn’t stopped, include a link to your original tweet, and the copy the plagiarist made AFTER Twitter warned them.
- Give Twitter time to process this - usually a few more days. At this point if the plagiarist has continued after Twitter has warned them not to, Twitter will likely suspend them. I haven’t seen the process fail once it’s reached this point.
I hope that you’re never ripped off by a plagiarist. If you are, this should give you the guidance needed to deal with them.