Teen Vogue Story About Facebook Caused Bewilderment About Whether It Was Sponsored Content (Spoiler: It Was) Before the Entire Article Vanished

An utterly uncritical story on Facebook’s anti-disinformation team appears on Teen Vogue with no byline but no “sponsored content” label. Then Sheryl Sandberg links to it approvingly. Folks at Facebook deny it’s sponsored content, including those profiled in the story. Then the article disappears from Teen Vogue. Then it reappears with a “sponsored content” label. Then it disappears again.

What a clusterfuck all around, both for Teen Vogue (which despite what you might assume from its name, has been publishing very good, very serious work for the last few years) and for Facebook, whose entire reason for buying this sponsored article in the first place was to reassure people that they’re trustworthy. I think Felix Salmon’s theory on how this happened is almost certainly spot-on.

Thursday, 9 January 2020