Facebook 'accidentally' deleted old posts by CEO Mark Zuckerberg during pivotal periods in the company's history, reports Business Insider.
Zuck's old posts - which were even reported on by news outlets at the time - have vanished, including every comment he made in 2007 and 2008.
The most drastic deletions involved entire years. Throughout both 2006 and 2009, Zuckerberg was regularly active on the social network — but there are no posts visible of any kind for the two full years in between. The spokesperson confirmed that all the posts during 2007 and 2008 were deleted. -Business Insider
The company says the posts were "mistakenly deleted" due to "technical errors."
"A few years ago some of Mark's posts were mistakenly deleted due to technical errors. The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed to be successful so we didn't do it," reads a statement by a spokesperson.
"We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we've shared and archived this information publicly — first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom."
These disappearances, along with other changes Facebook has made to how it saves its archive of announcements and blog posts, make it much harder to parse the social network's historical record. This makes it far more difficult to hold the company, and Zuckerberg himself, accountable to past statements — particularly during a period of intense scrutiny of the company in the wake of a string of scandals.
The very nature of the issue means it is extremely challenging to make a full accounting of what exactly what has gone missing over the years. The spokesperson said they didn't know how many posts in total were deleted. -Business Insider
One such deleted post which was widely reported (and now no longer works) was an important document in Facebook's history, as Zuckerberg promised during the April 2012 acquisition of Instagram that "we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently," - a commitment the company never stuck to, while Instagram's two co-founders departed last year amid clashes with the 34-year-old billionaire CEO.
Harder to search the archives
According to the report, Facebook has also made it more difficult to navigate its dedicated announcement blog - after launching their new "Newsroom" for key announcements - the ability to search for old posts has all but been disabled.
Now, when you click on a link to a blog post included in an old news story, it redirects you to the Newsroom. The Newsroom doesn't have copies of many of these old blog posts, meaning there's no easy way to access them.
They do still exist in one form — as a "note" saved to Facebook's public "Facebook" page on the social network. But until today there was no centralized archive through which to browse them, like what was available for the Facebook blog, or like what exists today for Newsroom posts.
Instead, to read a specific one, you had to either know about it already and search for keywords on Google, or scroll back through the Facebook page's thousands of posts over the years. -Business Insider
Facebook added a "notes" tab to the Facebook page to access the old entries after BI contacted them for the story - which notes that "The net effect of this change to the archives was to drastically obfuscate Facebook's historical record — making it far harder to find past statements and announcements from the company about itself."
In April 2018, controversy erupted when TechCrunch reported that messages sent by Zuckerberg were being deleted in other people's inboxes without their knowledge or consent. The feature was not available to other users at the time.
Meanwhile The Verge noted in November 2016 that Zuckerberg's public posts about the media and Facebook's role in the 2016 US election had disappeared.