Marketwatch.com recently profiled a 15-year-old boy who was on his way to becoming an Internet entrepreneur - until Instagram purged his accounts and banned him for life.

The teenager was among Instagram's most popular influencers, reposting memes and boasting over 500,000 followers on just one IG account alone.

According to Marketwatch, on July 26, Ben (who didn't want his last name used) was surprised to find he couldn't log into 5 of his eight Instagram accounts.

Ben was a well-known meme curator, someone who reposts memes on multiple accounts to grow his follower counts. They then sell those Instagram accounts to people who want instant clout on social media.

But content creators - photographers and illustrators - complained to Instagram that their images were being used in memes without proper credit. Instagram responded by banning more than 30 highly popular pages - including Ben's popular @spicy.mp4 account.

"I made sure to credit everything as I used to be a content creator myself and I know the frustration of not being credited," Ben said.

But the problem wasn't just copyright violations. Instagram wants to crack down on the booming underground market where Instagram accounts and popular usernames are bought and sold for thousands of dollars.

"These accounts were disabled following multiple violations of our policies," an Instagram spokeswoman told MarketWatch. She said the violations included "attempts to buy and sell accounts and attempts to improperly obtain usernames."

Ben told Marketwatch he earned roughly $4,000 a month reposting memes on his popular pages. He denies selling Instagram accounts or usernames.

"I don't have another job as Instagram paid in one week what I would get in one month of an actual job,” the teenager said.

Ben wasn't alone. 17-year-old Declan Mortimer, whose popular meme account @ComedySlam had 11 million followers, was also banned by Instagram.

Declan said he earned $200,000 per year with his IG page before it was deleted.

Like Ben, Declan is appealing the page's deletion. But Instagram says the decision is final.

Stock photo by Luxy Images/Getty Images

  • Coy little wink

    Easy come easy go. IG tired of being monetized for free ?

  • Navybeans95

    Well...it was probably fun while it lasted...it's really no such thing as easy money ...legal money always comes with hard work...

  • Chicagowise

    No talent. Just a gimmick. Oh, well.

    I remember when I had a blog. I had all original material. Other bloggers would steal my news stories. So, I embedded a code that disabled the copy text feature.

  • Dowoop

    Oh well..make another page. You'll be ok.

  • Seldomseen

    Take this as a valuable lesson young man, build and diversify. Many times easy money does not last...be looking to get into other ventures.

  • jeniefrumdabloc™

    Eight Instagram accounts ..... ???? Chile he should have been banned ..... that's sick in da damn head to be honest no matter how you dress it up

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Wow. They got the rug pulled out from under them. That's pretty cold blooded.
    Hopefully they saved a lot of that money they made. If they did, they could have a nice little college fund stashed away.

  • Renee26

    Yet they don't ban the whores who pose damn near naked then encourage their John's to go to a different link to pay to play

  • Renee26

    He can use this to do even bigger things

  • Vonda K

    Sandra, l like the new format.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    I agree. Dude was 15 years old making $4,000 a month. That's impressive. There are 50 year olds out there who have never made $4,000 a month. If he continues with that same entrepreneurial spirit and mindset, he'll make money other ways for sure. He doesn't need Instagram to become wealthy.

  • CardiB’sAbs

    Amen!

  • Renee26

    Absolutely! He's probably recognizable so he can use that to his advantage and make shirts and/or do graphics and marketing for other people.

    I think he'll be fine, especially if he saved some of the money

  • BingBangBoom

    Indeed

  • SqueezMe

    Right. He was stealing other people's work without giving them credit but some are acting like he was a business man instead of a thief. Funny, the story I read yesterday used a photo of a white kid.

  • Dowoop

    It is a white kid.. But Sandra is shady and she used a picture of a black person that pbly isn't related to this story at all.

  • Marlika

    Shiet I needs to start a side hustle on IG?

  • ?? Kari ?????????

    Love the new format!!!

  • Dontgetdraggedhoe??

    Welp. Guess you gotta dust off that resume.

  • Chhzz

    Don't hate the playa

  • TeamCowboys

    They not ready for this convo ??????

  • J2PC

    Only 15. Probably just finished the 9th grade. He better start making the grades in school in order to perform well on the SATs for college. If he join a college ROTC for a business or any 4-year degree in a STEM program, his college tuition will be paid for.

    Upon completion, he'll be making more than Instagram account as a young officer. Do your time and move on. Different ways of making earning a living.

    Hopefully, he saved $$$ for college instead of buying overpriced junk just to give all back.

  • PetiteButterScotch

    How the hell do these kids do it?! Like wtf

  • J2PC

    They are just now catching on. He violated someone who felt used without credits & was reported. That made him easier to catch & block for good.

    He's not the only one who was shut down or fired by Inst agram. They tried to beat the system or company only to played themselves right on out of a job.

  • J2PC

    They tried to beat the system (or company) only to played themselves right on out of a job.

  • Rent em Spoons ?????????

    Time to get a real job . All of these influencers and IG ModelsThots will have to find a real gig