Twitter’s new terms of service have aroused something of a stir among users on the platform. The T&Cs, which have seen seen shifting in language choice and the upheaval of phrases such as “Twitter respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of the service to do the same”, have been dubbed “grotesque” by one user (@RicharddeNooy).
The aspect of the terms update that has sparked the controversy is a clause that makes content published by anyone to Twitter, “available to other companies, organizations or individuals.” In essence, this means a company could (with Twitter’s permission) take a tweet containing an original idea and essentially claim ownership of it, without needing to credit the inital poster/the twitter user who conceived the idea. This clause in particular is believed to be included to support the broadcasting of tweets, and the embedding of them.
The lifting of original content by companies without credit given to the creator has been seen before online. One famous case was that of Viner Peaches Monroe, who coined the phrase “[Eyebrows] On Fleek”. Social media users called for her to be given recognition or paid royalties after the phrase was used by designers and companies, but she was never acknowledged by the brands and companies capitalising from her phrase. It is important to note that, in defence of Twitter, they have never been known to sell any content published to their platform.
Twitter’s new update has also reaffirmed their right to delete any posts that violates their user agreement.
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