A similar thing happened to this tweet by David Hughes back in June. But the most egregious example of how pervasive this sort of theft has become played out for a Twitter user named Chris Scott, who posted this tweet about “Becky from 6th grade” and saw it lifted thousands of times. Jokes about old classmates with bad taste on Facebook tend to do really well these days.
To paraphrase some guy or other, good content is shared, great content is stolen. In fact, you might say the surest sign of success with a joke online is that people are stealing it. This isn’t just something that’s tolerated; it’s become incentivized, with those avaricious enough being able to leverage other people’s work into notoriety and even monetary gain.
Business Insider interviewed Scott about the bizarre feeling of watching something he wrote spread far and wide, detached from its original author. “It’s a genuinely fascinating and foreign concept to me, to see something that you connect with on some level and then decide, ‘Well, that’s mine now,’” he said.