Following the results of the November 8 presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg took great pains to defend his platform from criticism that its fake news problem had helped elect Donald J. Trump. But today, some of those responses mysteriously vanished—and then quickly popped back up.
The Verge reported that two of Zuckerberg’s Facebook posts about fake news and the election—one published on November 12th, and the other published on November 19th—had both gone missing. Earlier today, the original links for both redirected to an error page.
However, a short time later, both posts were back up.
The posts were covered by a large swath of the press, including Gizmodo. The November 12th post focused on whether Facebook had played a role in the election results, including the assertion that “more than 99% of what people see [on Facebook] is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics.”
Meanwhile, the November 19th post laid out plans to combat the fake news running rampant on the platform.
While we don’t know exactly what happened to the posts—whether they were deleted, made private, or something else—their quiet disappearance, and equally quiet reappearance is certainly puzzling, and it’s worth asking why it happened.
Update 1:45 pm: A Facebook spokesperson blamed the disappearance on an “error.”
“These posts were removed by mistake,” the spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement. “This was caused by an error in one of our systems and the posts have now been restored. Mark’s account was not compromised, and he stands behind the words in his posts.”