Twitter cracks down on spammy ‘copypasta’ tweets

Twitter will now hide tweets that feature text that’s been copy and pasted without any modifications from the source. The social network has updated its censorship policy to include “copypasta,” which is internet slang used for a piece of text that’s been duplicated from the original post and shared widely across forums and websites.

In a tweet, Twitter’s communications handle said the company “may limit the visibility” of tweets that it believes fall under this category. “We’ve seen an increase in ‘copypasta,’ an attempt by many accounts to copy, paste, and Tweet the same phrase. When we see this behavior, we may limit the visibility of the tweets,” it added.

Twitter offers a handy shortcut on its mobile apps that lets you copy text by simply long-pressing the tweet. It didn’t comment on how it will limit such tweets’ visibility. Generally, the social network tends to overlay violating tweets with a warning, and only when users manually choose to read them are they made visible.

While “copypasta” began as a term for viral online messages, the technique has lately been abused for wide-scale spam attempts. Malicious campaigns on the internet tend to recruit hundreds of thousands of accounts (or automated bots) to push, for instance, political propaganda in great numbers.

On the other hand, “copypasta” has been a headache for creators whose original tweets and intellectual properties get plagiarized and deprived of likes and traffic. Twitter has, in the past, sporadically taken action on such abuses but never announced any definitive policy updates.

Earlier this year, in a Wired interview, CEO, Jack Dorsey also hinted that Twitter may begin to track how many times a link in a tweet has been copied.

It’s unclear, however, how effective Twitter’s new “copypasta” policies are and when they come into effect. Several replies and quote-retweets to Twitter Communications’ tweet are duplicates and they are still visible without any warning. Twitter hasn’t added the revision on its website yet, so it’s possible the company is still working on the new feature.

We’ve reached out to Twitter for more information and we’ll update the story when we hear back.

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