Social Media Has Begun Banning People For Screenshots Of YouTube

Twitter has banned social media personalities Brittany Venti and The Quartering over images from a YouTube video featuring anti-human-trafficking activist Eliza Bleu.

By Jennifer Asencio | Published

banned from youtube

Two social media personalities have been suspended from Twitter because they posted scenes from a music video on YouTube. Bounding Into Comics tells the story of YouTubers Brittany Venti and The Quartering, both of whom were suspended from the popular social media platform after posting screenshots of a music video by fellow social media personality and anti-human-trafficking activist Eliza Bleu. The music video has been available on YouTube for six years, but due to Eliza Bleu reporting it, the two personalities who posted it were disciplined by the site.

Eliza Bleu appears in the video in a variety of suggestive poses and actions, which caused YouTube podcaster Brittany Venti to ask some questions about the appearance and how it relates to Bleu’s claims of being a human trafficking survivor. Venti tweeted, “I saw this tweet just now but I think it starts to blur the line about what is trafficking vs what was voluntary. I think it’s fair to ask questions when things like this distract from the anti-trafficking messaging when it’s not clarified.”

The series of tweets Brittany Venti made about Eliza Bleu was reported by Eliza and her YouTube viewers, resulting in Venti’s suspension. Eliza Bleu followed up with a tweet of her own, stating “I’m going to address this one time and one time only. A non-consensual photo was posted of me yesterday on Twitter. The photos have been removed. The source of the photo has also been contacted, and I’m preparing to escalate to the full extent of the law.”

Eliza Bleu continued the thread to say that Twitter would be excluded from legal action because they handled the situation appropriately, and to caution her “enemies” that they should familiarize themselves with the law. Twitter’s official reasoning for suspending Brittany Venti was because of Venti “violating our rules against posting or sharing privately produced/distributed intimate media of someone without their express consent.”

Many other social media personalities spoke up against Eliza Bleu, including fellow YouTube personality The Quartering, who admits in his tweet that he has “never had a bad interaction” with either Eliza Bleu or Brittany Venti. He took exception to Eliza Bleu’s statements and Brittany Venti’s suspension because, he says, the video is public, not private, since it is on YouTube. He, too, was suspended, and given similar reasons for his suspension.

To date, the video is still available for viewing on the site, but it was reported that Twitter is calling the YouTube link “unsafe.”

However, Community Notes added under Eliza Bleu’s initial claim that the tweet refers to a music video that has been available on YouTube for several years and even includes the link to the video to provide context. The entire situation has caused an uproar on the social media platform, as users protest what they see as a miscarriage of Twitter’s rules. #FreetheQuartering is trending on Twitter as many users complain that he and Brittany Venti were unfairly banned over publicly available material.

The Quartering has said on his YouTube channel that he will be providing updates as Eliza Bleu’s threatened lawsuit proceeds. He has not deleted the offending tweet to shorten his suspension, but Brittany Venti’s tweet is not on her timeline. Deleting an offending tweet could still result in a suspension whose countdown begins when the tweet is deleted.

While Twitter’s rule about not distributing private images without permission of their owner is a good rule to prevent copyright infringement and revenge porn, it seems to have been misapplied in this case, since the image in question is from a YouTube video. It may be embarrassing for Eliza Bleu to appear in a video where she participates in the sexualization of women that she is known for protesting, but it is not illegal since the video is on YouTube. However, it is quite disturbing for the rest of us, because most of us don’t have hundreds of thousands of fans to come to our defense.

Texas Zach’s tweet illustrates the issue for small accounts that don’t have a large following – that the posting of YouTube images like Eliza Bleu’s could result in suspensions that don’t have hashtags protesting them, and that anyone can be suspended for sharing from the site. The suspensions of high-profile figures like The Quartering and Brittany Venti for something they so obviously didn’t do are ominous enough, but the consequences for users at large can be frightening to contemplate.