This is bait refers to a popular online slang expression, used in reference to provocative content or messages, that have been deliberately created to incite arguments.
It is most widely encountered on message boards and forums such as Reddit and 4chan.
The preceding expression of “this is bait” was flamebait and it would be used online since the 1990’s, mainly appearing on forums as well as message- and image boards.
Flamebait’s use would continue into the 2000’s.
“This is bait” would first appear as an image macro meme in 2013, when the phrase would be included on a clip art illustration of a fish looking at a fishhook.
It would initially be featured on 4chan boards like /a/ and /s4s/ in May 2013.
In the following years, “this is bait” would be featured on memes and in discussions on sites like 4chan, DeviantArt, 9GAG and Facebook.
During the rest of the 2010’s, the image macro would become a prevalent way to highlight the malicious intent of users, who only want to incite arguments.