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The Shade Room is in Facebook jail, missing its 4 million followers there

TechCrunch TechCrunch 18/04/2016 Lora Kolodny

Facebook 86’ed The Shade Room from its platform today for unknown reasons. The celebrity gossip and news publisher attracted about 4.2 million followers on Facebook.

We reached out to The Shade Room and to Facebook to learn why its page disappeared. Facebook did not yet reply to our inquiry, but we’ll update this story as it develops.

Angie Nwandu, The Shade Room founder, and other employees declined to comment as well.

However, earlier in the day, the startup responded to the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard confirming that the take-down was Facebook’s responsibility, versus say hackers, but “no reason was given” by Facebook for the account’s suspension.

From upstarts to traditional newspapers, publishers today rely on a blend of their own branded sites and mobile apps, along with platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and others, to generate brand awareness, audience and ad revenue.

This year, Facebook has been courting publishers to increasingly use its Instant Articles format to reach readers, and generate shared ad revenue.

Companies that publish through social platforms may be able to build huge communities there and reach new readers.

But posting their materials there “natively,” or otherwise, they are also subject to the various terms and conditions of the platform providers, not to mention search algorithm adjustments, data collection and design changes over time.

Today, The Shade Room also temporarily set its Instagram account to private, requiring requests from new followers to be allowed “in” to the community.

On Twitter, an investor in The Shade Room, Bryce Roberts cautioned, “All the publishers who say they’d start their next media company as a Facebook page take note…”

Among others, new stories posted to The Shade Room site today included one lamenting the torrential downpours and flooding in Houston, Texas; and a story about a forthcoming documentary on R&B singer Chris Brown, which attempts to paint him in a sympathetic light after he was convicted of a domestic violence felony.

Sites including Buzzfeed and Jezebel have speculated that The Shade Room could face various problems thanks to its alleged use of photos without attribution or proper licenses.

Pages for The Shade Room competitors, like World Star Hip Hop and PerezHilton.com, were still accessible to users on Monday.

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