Ariel Winter Lashes out at Instagram for Removing Photo

Ariel Winter fired off at Instagram on Tuesday afternoon when the platform removed a photo of herself for a copyright violation.

Winter is an avid user of Instagram, with just under four million followers. She is often in the headlines for her constant posts, but on Tuesday she was hit with a community guidelines violation. Winter posted a screen shot of her message from Instagram on the app itself.

"We've removed or disabled access to the following content that you posted on Instagram because a third party reported that the content violates their copyright," it read. The photo in question was an apparently candid picture of Winter herself, standing with her arms crossed and staring off into the distance.

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(Photo: Instagram / Ariel Winter)

"What in the f— @instagram??" the actress wrote. "Lol they removed my photo because it violated someone else's rights? It's literally a photo of me that someone sent me on Twitter?"

Undeterred, Winter re-posted the picture a few minutes later, letting Instagram know that they need to take a closer look at reports of copyright violation.

"Posting again for the idiots who took down MY PHOTO for violating someone else's copyright," she wrote. "They violated my space so I should at least be able to post it when I want to or just not be fucking photographed. Will repost every time it's taken down." Winter punctuated this caption with one heart emoji and a long line of middle finger emojis.

Winter later explained further on Twitter, where she made it clear that the photo was taken by an anonymous person out in public without her knowledge or permission. She re-posted it herself on Twitter, apparently as an act of defiance against those with no regard for her personal space.


"Honestly the ONLY reason I'm posting this is because I've never seen a more accurate photo of myself," she wrote in her original post. While it was removed from Instagram, her corresponding tweet remained.

"Okay so someone invaded @arielwinter1 privacy and took this photo WITHOUT HER PERMISSION," read a post that Winter herself retweeted, "then when she posted this photo OF HERSELF on Instagram it was removed for violating copyright. Ariel requested the photo be shared by everyone."

The legal status of public, candid photos of celebrities is hazy and confusing. While it is legal to photograph a celebrity in a visible public space, the pictures can only be used for "private or educational" purposes, according to a report by ByPeople.

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This means that the person who spotted Winter out in public could have a dubious right to the picture they snapped, though it doesn't mean Winter does not have a claim to it. Moreover, images posted to social media are generally considered fair game for other users to re-appropriate.

Winter's die-hard fans called on Instagram to take a more serious look at reports of copyright violation in the future.