Teen Vogue is apologizing for creating "confusion" after what it says were a "series of errors" in the handling of a post on Facebook's efforts to combat false information in the 2020 election.
The article, titled "How Facebook Is Helping Ensure the Integrity of the 2020 Election," presented an uncritical look at the company's purported efforts to quash election interference. Screenshots of the story show it was initially published without a byline and was comprised of several interviews with Facebook employees, speaking positively about their company's efforts to stop disinformation on the platform.
The piece attracted attention online, with many questioning whether it was in fact a paid advertisement from the social media giant. Facebook has drawn criticism for failing to address the spread of fake accounts and disinformation on its site leading up to the 2016 election.
According to Mashable, an editor's note claiming it was "sponsored editorial content" was later added to the story along with a byline for contributor Lauren Rearick. But Rearick told Mashable she didn't write the piece. The story was then deleted without explanation.
Teen Vogue, addressed the matter in a statement to the Daily Beast, on Wednesday afternoon.
“We made a series of errors labeling this piece, and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We don’t take our audience’s trust for granted, and ultimately decided that the piece should be taken down entirely to avoid further confusion," the statement said.
Facebook pitched the idea to Teen Vogue during talks last year for a summit the magazine was hosting and the tech company was sponsoring, according to The New York Times.
“We had a paid partnership with Teen Vogue related to their women’s summit, which included sponsored content,” Facebook said in a statement, the Times reported.
“Our team understood this story was purely editorial, but there was a misunderstanding," Facebook added.