This really is a first-world problem.
Subscribers to the popular Reddit sections r/firstworldproblems (44,936 readers) and r/skeptic (30,652 readers) have gotten hot and bothered over two Twitter accounts that poach their posts almost word for word without giving them any credit. This injustice was uncovered by redditors armitageshanks and combuchan who looked through the timelines of @skepticviews and @firsworldpains, which has an impressive 141,690 followers.
For example, @skepticviews’ tweet “Happy Birthday James Randi!!!” shares the same number of exclamation points seen in the original Reddit post and only links to a photo of Randi and not to the Reddit comments explaining who he actually is. The r/skeptics post was made about about 18 hours earlier.
@firstworldpain’s tweet “I was texting in bed and accidentally dropped my phone on my face” was conspicuously posted on Reddit three hours earlier.
No credit is made to Reddit on either of the Twitter accounts.
“That kind of annoys me,” wrote r/firstworldproblems moderator airmandan. “They're stealing content without attribution. Should I try to do something about it?”
“No, I'm sure it's making people laugh,” responded flyera4cup. “That's like complaining someone is stealing one-liners off your joke website.”
Other folks, particularly in r/skeptic, took the news of the Twitter account in stride.
“Since this subreddit almost never deals with original content (mostly news links and the like), how is this account's 'reposting' of the material bad?” wrote IntensionallyRong. “If anything it brings skepticism to a wider audience via Twitter. Unless there is something sinister about this account, I will think it is just fine.”
The attribution issue has been around since the dawn of the Internet—which just celebrated its 42nd birthday, fun fact! A countless number of WordPress and Tumblr blogs are scraping information from anywhere, making it more and more difficult to find original content.
The “phone dropped on face” scenario has been reposted on Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook so many times that it’s earned its own entry on Know Your Meme. According to them, searching for the origin of this phrase is unnecessary, impossible and dumbfounding because “it is a common experience that many sympathize with, having experienced it first-hand.”
But leave it to Reddit to tackle this issue head-on. It’s truly a first-world problem, being addressed by a first-world-problem subreddit about first-world problems.
In other words, this is serious.