Fox News host Sean Hannity's Twitter account was compromised and was unavailable for a few hours on Saturday (27 January), inspiring speculation by his conservative followers that a government cabal they call the "deep state" or a rogue employee could be to blame.
After Hannity's verified Twitter account posted a message that simply and cryptically said "Form Submission 1649," visitors said they were getting a "Sorry, that page doesn't exist" error message. By the time Hannity's account was back up later in the morning, speculation was rampant about the mysterious disappearance.
Fox News referred questions to Twitter, which confirmed the account had been compromised.
"While we normally do not discuss individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons, we have permission from the account owner to confirm that account was briefly compromised," Twitter said by email, without elaborating.
Some Hannity followers blamed shadowy "deep state" government figures looking to take down Hannity, who's a big supporter of President Donald Trump.
"The Deep State is in panic!" tweeted Alex Jones, a far-right radio show host. "Hannity disappears from Twitter after eerie tweet."
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took to Twitter to observe how Hannity had his account "mysteriously disappear."
Other users were rooting for the theory that a rogue Twitter employee was behind the deactivation. That was Twitter's explanation for an 11-minute outage that took down the Republican president's twitter account in November.
At the time, Twitter blamed a customer support worker on his or her last day on the job and said it was implementing safeguards to prevent the situation from happening again.