A viral tweet criticising a pro-gun message has been censored in the United States after the original author issued a takedown notice.

Following the horrific Florida school shooting which left 17 people dead, Twitter user Tom Boylan sent this tweet about the pro-gun message often bandied around as a way to deal with gun violence.

The tweet absolutely blew up, getting well over 100,000 retweets (at the time of writing).

But as of yesterday, it started appearing censored to Twitter users from the United States, the United Kingdom and Peru (at least).

It all smacks of ~CONSPIRACY~ at a high Twitter level, of the National Rifle Association putting money directly into the pocket of Jack Dorsey to block the tweet and all that insanely juicy stuff. Unfortunately, that’s not it at all.

In fact, it looks like Boylan ripped the joke from a comedian called Nate Borgman, whose joke went off on Reddit after the shooting.

“Tom Boylan ripped off my post from Reddit,” wrote Borgman. “It became his best tweet ever! Still hasn’t given me credit.”

Of course, there’s always the chance that Nate Borgman and Tom Boylan happened to think of the same idea, just days apart. A tiny, smidgen chance.

After turning to Reddit for advice, Borgman issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice, which was successful.

Boylan has remained silent throughout the process, despite several friends and supporters of Borgman urging him to credit the original poster.

In fact, the only other tweet he has sent since the plagiarism came to light was a reply to Tucker Carlson.

It’s hardly the first time a joke has been plagiarised on Twitter. The website has entire accounts that post nothing but stolen tweets, racking up huge amounts of followers that they then turn into money making machines via paid-for tweets.

It’s also not just a Twitter problem; the most famous example is probably Instagram account The Fat Jew making thousands off of stolen and uncredited posts, but a few years ago, Australian comedian Ray Badran had his stand-up joke posted to Facebook by an audience member, whose post was later republished by LAD Bible (making it look like this audience member had written the joke).

“Poets wouldn’t accept [their work being stolen], musicians wouldn’t accept it, painters wouldn’t accept it, but for some reason, comedians have to,” he told PEDESTRIAN.TV at the time“If I was a musician and had one of my best songs stolen and go viral, I would want credit for it too, and credit would be expected. For some reason it’s different with jokes.”

But yeah, in summary – there’s no high level Twitter / NRA conspiracy going on here. Just another day of plagiarism on the internet.

Image: Twitter