Popular Instagram blog The Shaderoom lost its 4 million Facebook followers in one fell swoop on Monday.
Facebook pulled down the influential social media gossip blog for "intellectual property" violations. In other words, TSR was banned for publishing copyrighted paparazzi photos.
The first sign that something was amiss came on Monday when TSR's 25-year-old founder, Angie Nwandu made her Instagram page private temporarily (Facebook also owns Instagram.com).
Other bloggers speculated that Nwandu may have been hit with copyright infringement notices for the many celebrity photographs she publishes that helped make her Instagram blog popular.
The cost to battle a copyright infringement lawsuit is a minimum of $5,000 and can soar to over $25,000. Most bloggers can't afford to pay attorneys to represent them. Bloggers usually settle with the trolls because it costs more to battle them in court.
This is why copyright trolls are referred to as "extortionists" because they extort cash settlements from bloggers under the threat of huge attorney fees and costly litigation.
A few black bloggers who have been sued by copyright trolls predicted that TSR would be next for publishing thousands of copyrighted celebrity photographs on Instagram.
Facebook.com confirmed late Monday that TSR's page was banned for "IP violations".
The Shaderoom launched on Instagram.com and Twitter.com simultaneously, although it failed to gain in popularity on Twitter.com until recently when Nwandu was named one of Time's influential bloggers.
The risk of becoming an attractive target of copyright trolls caused some urban bloggers to establish their fan base on social media where they assume they are protected by the Internet's DMCA law.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects bloggers if they can prove someone else published the infringing content on their blogs. In the case of TSR, Nwandu can simply say one of her "roommates" posted the photos on Instagram.com and she is protected from lawsuits.
Popular Instagram blogs such as TSR and Baller Alert charge advertisers $$$ for running ads in their IG posts. It can be a lucrative business, especially when you consider IG bloggers use Instagram's free bandwidth instead of paying for their own bandwidth like bloggers who run their own blogs.
But the hammer is about to drop.
Most people who register on Instagram don't read the TOS (Terms of Service).
Instagram's TOS clearly states: "You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of Content you post on or through the Instagram Services."
This means if you are sued for copyright violations on Instagram, you agree to pay Instagram's lawyers for any damages owed.
For now, it looks like The Shaderoom is safe on Instagram.com, where her many "roommates" are willing to accept the blame for posting copyrighted celebrity photos. But there are storm clouds up ahead.
Thanks to loyal reader Tami of Talkingwithtami.com for the tip.