The Shade Room — the internet native, black celebrity gossip publication — has been removed from Facebook, by Facebook.
At the time of its removal on Monday, The Shade Room had 4.4 million followers on its Facebook page. While TSR does have a website, it's known for a primarily social following, which means it mostly exists on third party platforms. The publication got its start on Instagram in 2014 before finding significant audiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat as well.
"Facebook is a huge driver of our internet traffic," Angie Nwandu, The Shade Room's founder, told BuzzFeed News. "I'm doing everything in my power to get it back up."
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the social network was behind the publication's removal for violation of its Community Standards. Pending any appeals from The Shade Room, things will remain that way.
Nwandu said that The Shade Room received complaints for a few copyright-infringing posts on their Facebook page, but is at a loss for what exactly prompted the takedown earlier today. According to Nwandu, she was the only person approving posts for the page at the time of the takedown, and had taken steps to make sure that nothing was in violation of copyright law.
Facebook was unable to comment on what posts, specifically, led to TSR's removal.
The Shade Room is a thoroughly modern publication, existing nearly entirely where its audience exists — on social. However, publishing directly to social networks, as Nwandu has pioneered, puts the fortunes, and readership, of TSR into a third party's hands. Namely, Facebook's, Instagram's, Twitter's, and Snapchat's.
Until now, distributed content savvy has allowed Nwandu to grow incredibly fast — her audience numbers in the millions, despite only launching two years ago. However, the strategy of relying on a tech company as a publisher comes with some inherent risks. Putting content on a social network is acquiescing to their rules and, sometimes, those rules are difficult to parse, or subject to change.
Nwandu has run into trouble in the past: BuzzFeed News reported TSR's mistaken removal from Instagram about one year ago. In this case, those dangers are realized; The Shade Room just had a 4 million-plus audience disappear in an instant without, according to Nwandu, a clear, stated reason or path for recourse.
For her part, though, Nwandu doesn't seem too worried. "I'm going to have to figure out the appeals process," she said. "If that doesn't work, we can always rebuild."
A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the reason for The Shade Room's removal was due to copyright violations.
The Shade Room is back, for now. TSR's Nwandu appears to be rebuilding from the ground up in lieu of a reinstatement from Facebook — a new page surfaced Wednesday afternoon. As of writing, the page has 41 likes.
Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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