A Facebook glitch on Thursday evening revealed that Greta Thunberg’s Facebook page is run by accounts belonging to her father and a climate activist in India.
Managers of Facebook pages are supposed to be able to post anonymously to them. But, according to Wired, “a bug that was live from Thursday evening until Friday morning allowed anyone to easily reveal the accounts running a Page, essentially doxing anyone who posted to one.” All a user had to do to see who was behind a post was check the edit history.
People on message boards like 4chan took advantage, sharing screenshots of posts on Greta Thunberg’s page by her dad, actor Svante Thunberg, and Adarsh Prathap, an Indian delegate at the U.N. climate change organization. None of the posts appeared to have been composed by the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist herself.
The revelation played into longstanding allegations that Greta Thunberg’s international celebrity has been stage-managed by her family and climate consultants. The Thunbergs have denied the claims.
— ExtinctionClock (@ExtinctionClock) January 11, 2020
On Saturday, a Facebook user purporting to be Thunberg sought to respond to critics in a post to her page, which has nearly 3 million followers. While public figures regularly employ social media managers to communicate in their voice, Thunberg claimed she really was behind all her posts. She said she just prefers to use her dad’s account.
“Some people have been asking who manages this page. First of all, since last spring I only use Facebook to repost what I write on my Twitter and Instagram accounts,” she said. “Since I have chosen not to be on Facebook personally (I tried early on but decided it wasn’t for me) I use my father Svantes account to repost content, because you need an account to moderate a Facebook page.”
Thunberg added that Prathap helps with the reposting.
“All texts posted on my Facebook page has of course been written by me, just like everything else,” she said.
Greta Thunberg before the Facebook glitch
Hailed as a planetary savior by many activists and journalists, Thunberg has recently been forced to issue a number of clarifications to her fans on social media.
Last month, she defended a photo she tweeted of herself posing on the floor of what she said was an “overcrowded” trained after the railway revealed that she had actually traveled first class. According to Thunberg, she had sat on the floor until a seat opened up.
Days earlier, Thunberg apologized for saying during a speech in Italy that world leaders should be “put against the wall.” In English the phrase is associated with execution by firing squad. But Thunberg said she only meant to say they must be held accountable.
Speaking with BBC Radio 4 last month, Svante Thunberg said that he initially thought it was a “bad idea” for his daughter to skip school to protest climate change. But he said that after watching her battle depression for several years, he sees her as happier as a result of her activism.
“She dances around, she laughs a lot, we have a lot of fun — and she’s in a very good place,” he said.
He added that Greta is planning on returning to school, and that by her 17th birthday, which was on Jan. 3, she won’t need to be chaperoned on her travels.
“If she needs me there, I’ll try to do it,” he said. “But I think she’ll be, more and more, going to do it by herself, which is great.”
- Greta Thunberg, left, and her father, Svante Thunberg.: Screen grab