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Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A number of Facebook users were surprised Tuesday when some of their old posts disappeared — specifically, all the updates that had been cross-posted from Twitter. It turns out Twitter was surprised, too.

The bottom line: Facebook had announced in January that it was removing a feature that allowed people to cross-post updates from Twitter. As a result, Twitter deleted its Facebook platform app, which had been rendered useless when the changes went into effect earlier this month. But it had no idea old posts would go away once the app was removed.

Here's what happened, according to a source close to Twitter.: Twitter had initially asked Facebook for more time to see if there was a way for users to continue joint posting to both social networks, but Facebook said no.

As a result, the Twitter app for the Facebook platform was essentially made useless earlier this month once Facebook officially removed the ability to cross-post. With the app's sole function eliminated, Twitter decided to delete it from the Facebook platform, having no reason to think that doing so would remove old tweets that were cross-posted. It's not clear whether Facebook knew this would happen, either.

That said, the content has apparently now been restored.

“A Twitter admin requested their app be deleted, which resulted in content that people had cross-posted from Twitter to Facebook also being temporarily removed from people’s profiles," Facebook said. "However, we have since restored the past content and it’s now live on people’s profiles.”

Why it matters: The deletions were brief, but the snafu served as a reminder that it’s not always clear who has control over user data on giant social platforms — and it’s often not the user.

Go deeper

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Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.