Eliza Bleu Controversy Erupts Online And Raises Questions About Corruption And Free Speech At Twitter

January 31st, 2023 - 3:02 PM EST by Aidan Walker

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Eliza Bleu

A series of accusations that activist-influencer and purported human trafficking survivor Eliza Bleu lied about large parts of her life story has kicked up conversations about alleged corruption at Twitter in the Elon Musk era in recent days.

Bleu, who purportedly has connections high up at Twitter, notably helped push the narrative that under Musk the platform was doing a better job at taking down child pornography and videos of nonconsensual sex — and her follower count ballooned in recent months. Now, accounts posting accusations against Bleu claim that Twitter is allegedly banning them and locking them out.

The accusations have been circulating for a while, but online news source The Quartering put them together in a series of "#ElizaBleuFiles," leading the news to spread online today.

Bleu describes herself as a “human trafficking survivor advocate and a survivor herself,” according to her personal website, and runs a podcast about the topic. Her account on Twitter now has over a quarter of a million followers.

Amind the recent controversy surrounding her, some accusers allege that Bleu is a “grifter,” was not sexually trafficked and has concealed details of her past — though this is unproven. They also claim that her father is an Illinois politician and that Bleu has allegedly stolen money from charity.

After Musk's acquisition of Twitter late last year, several news outlets reported that the quality of the platform's content moderation was actually worse since most of the people doing the work of removing sexually exploitative material from the site had been fired or quit.

The issue of sex trafficking and the exploitation of children has been a prominent right-wing fixation for a long time, as well as conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon that are often centered around supposed child trafficking and accusing liberals of systematically exploiting children.

Closer to the mainstream, Elon Musk notably replied to a series of tweets last month that alluded to Twitter’s old head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, being an alleged pedophile and that Twitter itself was supposedly complicit. Bleu was prominent in Musk's replies helping to push this narrative.

Bleu also went viral in December 2022 for tweeting about how Twitter before Musk was purportedly complicit with exploitation. Her pinned tweet is from September, criticizing the platform in the pre-Musk era.

Various accounts that have shared accusations about Bleu, including The Quartering, claim to have been banned or locked over the last week. They point to this as purported evidence of corruption at Twitter, speculating that Bleu must have asked her supposed connections to punish these accounts. The evidence given of Bleu’s connections is slim, but as some pointed out, she is followed by both Ella Irwin, current head of Twitter’s Trust and Safety, and Jack Dorsey.

Bleu has pushed back against the accusations publicly today. She also says that claims she asks Musk or others for favors are not true.

The Eliza Bleu accusations are all unconfirmed as of now despite widespread speculation, but what is reported is a pattern of haphazardness around Twitter content moderation in the Musk era. As Bloomberg reports, staff cuts to Twitter have led to a smaller content moderation team that appears to operate not by a set of rules but according to what Musk and others direct them to do.

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