You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Distractify Accuses 22 Words of Stealing Its Viral Facebook Posts

This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this:

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one:

The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos or video, usually taken from social media.

But why are these posts popping up in your feed? It’s (usually) not because your friends shared them. It’s because Distractify pays Facebook for your attention.

Distractify bids against other viral content providers for placement. It’s not just Facebook. Other social platforms and even social media “influencers” engage in the same sort of pay-for-views arrangement. It works out well for everybody.

But Distractify has a problem.

Say hello to 22 Words.

22 Words is also in the viral content game.

On Tuesday, Distractify filed a federal lawsuit against Brainjolt, the parent company of 22 Words.

The suit accuses 22 Words of ripping off dozens of its posts. Posts like this one:

About three months ago, Distractify published a story about Wyatt Hall and Kirsten Titus, two Brigham Young University students who were crazy about each other — until she dumped him using a Spotify playlist.

Heartbreaking.

But what’s even more heartbreaking — for Distractify — is what happened next.

22 Words did the exact same story. Same BYU students. Same playlist. Same perfect response.

This wasn’t just heartbreaking. According to Distractify, it was actionable:

You see, this wasn’t the first time this had happened. Check out this post from last summer.

Doomed. Whatever the opposite of “relationship goals” is, this is it.

But according Distractify’s lawsuit, 22 Words saw that post and thought: traffic goals.

WTH, 22 Words? Why don’t you come up with your own viral content? <— Is pretty much what Distractify’s lawyers are saying here.

What’s worse, according to Distractify, is that 22 Words is outbidding Distractify in the Facebook traffic auctions — winning the right to show its infringing content to Facebook users.

A gavel on a judges bench. VARIOUS

If this keeps up, Distractify could find itself unable to compete for Facebook viewers’ eyeballs. And that’s why Distractify is taking this to court.

But wait. Remember that post about the BYU students who broke up via Spotify?

Turns out, both Distractify and 22 Words linked to this.

Buzzfeed? Yes, Buzzfeed posted the viral Spotify breakup story the day before Distractify.

So who “owns” this content anyway?

Is it Distractify? 22 Words? Buzzfeed? Any of the many other sites that posted about it?

Or is it the girl’s sister who authored this content in the first place by posting the story on Twitter?

And remember those wedding stories? Most of them were taken from a Reddit thread.

So when is Distractify’s presentation of this content unique enough that it becomes protected under copyright? And can others present the same or similar content without violating Distractify’s copyright?

This is what we have highly paid lawyers and judges to figure out.

Asked to respond to the lawsuit, Brainjolt also had the perfect response:

No comment.

More Digital

  • YouTube terminates Toy Freaks

    YouTube Terminates Toy Freaks Channel Amid Broader Crackdown on Disturbing Kids' Content

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

  • Liza Koshy

    Liza Koshy to Star in YouTube Red Comedy Series 'Liza on Demand' Premiering in 2018

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

  • Dwyane Wade

    NBA Star Dwyane Wade Has His Own Facebook Reality Show

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

  • Still from Google Spotlight Stories' short

    Google Spotlight Stories Releases VR Short 'Sonaria' With Steam, Viveport, Mobile App

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

  • Dana Walden American Idol

    Fox's Dana Walden Joins Hulu Board of Directors

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Delays HomePod Speaker Until Early 2018

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

  • Jason Mojica Vice

    Vice Suspends Film Producer Jason Mojica Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation

    This is Distractify. You’ve probably seen its viral posts in your Facebook feed, like this: Makes you think, doesn’t it? Distractify is one of many companies that competes for your online attention with posts like this one: The posts often take the form of curated listicles, which combine written text with a series of photos […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content