It’s the nature of memes to be spread around the internet, meaning that we often don’t know (or care) where they came from.
But writer Ira Madison III is not down with a photo he posted being taken, turned into a fake tweet, then used for an ad.
In a series of tweets, Madison accused publication Betches and dating app Hinge of “shady behavior,” after they allegedly engaged in just that.
On Sunday, Madison tweeted a photo, showing a friend using Goldfish crackers as breadcrumbs for macaroni and cheese.
“I’m not going to call out the white friend who did this by name, but as the holidays approach just know that using goldfish as breadcrumbs for macaroni and cheese IS NOT OKAY,” reads the tweet.
By Tuesday, the photo was then allegedly taken by Betches for its Instagram account, then given a fake caption written by a user who doesn’t even exist on Twitter.
“I’m dead…this guy on Hinge invited me over dinner and when I got there proudly displayed his mac n cheese with goldfish breadcrumbs,” reads a tweet by @SwirlGirlChi, whose account can’t be found.
The now-deleted post was sponsored by Hinge.
Madison said he doesn’t normally care about stolen content online, but wasn’t too impressed at these businesses making money off him.
It appears to be not the first instance that an Instagram post on Betches account seems to stem from a fake tweet.
Here’s one written by a Twitter user (@carbiegirl667), who doesn’t seem to exist. The post, lo and behold, is also sponsored by Hinge.
Betches Media explained to Mashable via email that Hinge sent the post as advertisement to publish on its Instagram.
“We were under the impression it was original content created by their team. As soon as concerns were raised about this meme, we removed it from our channel,” the statement reads.
“We apologize for unintetionally [sic] misattributing this content, as we highly respect original content creators and will be more diligent in vetting our content for proper attribution in the future.”
Of course, pilfering content on the internet is hardly shocking or new, long helping brands and identities build their profile on social media.
In March, Twitter cracked down on “tweetdeckers,” who steal tweets, then work to get them viral on their own accounts which often have large fanbases. They’re then able to make money by charging to retweet, a practice which has been documented by BuzzFeed.
Hinge did not immediately respond to a request for comment when approached by Mashable.