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Twitter to limit visibility of ‘copypasta’ tweets


Twitter is going limit the visibility of “copypasta” tweets in an attempt to address spam and abuse on the platform. “Copypasta” is internet slang for copying and pasting text from other sources without modifying it in any way. Twitter’s communications team announced the decision on Thursday.

Context: The move is largely a reaction to widespread spamming earlier this week by several accounts sharing text from a tweet by a self-claimed Black Lives Matter protestor who had decided to vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump. Multiple news reports, such as those by NBC News and BBC, reported that the activity began with an account called “@WentDemtoRep”, with the picture of an African American man claiming he had been a Democrat his whole life, but would now register as a Republican. The tweet was shared more than 11,000 times. The account, which was created this month, turned out to be fake, with the picture stolen from the Instagram account a model.

Subsequently, the text was copied and tweeted by hundreds of Twitter accounts. Soon the account, as well two others tagged by the user under the original tweet in a reply, were suspended by Twitter, according to NBC News.

Twitter’s Communications team, in its tweet, pointed users to the company’s privacy policy, which noted that Twitter may limit the reach of a person’s tweets if “abuse or manipulation of our service” is detected. In case of spam, Twitter may also limit account functionality and visibility by distributing their tweets only to their followers.

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