Mystery: Julian Assange's Twitter Account Briefly Vanished and Reappeared Christmas Morning, But No one Seems To Know Why

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves the High Court in central London November 2, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears to have deleted his Twitter account early on Christmas morning. The account reappeared shortly before 10:00 AM Eastern time.

Based on the activity of The Internet Archive, which as been recording snapshots of Assange's account once per hour for more than three months now, the account first vanished some time between midnight and 1:00 AM GMT on December 25 (between 7:00 and 8:00 PM Eastern time on December 24), according to Gizmodo.

Assange usually tweets from @JulianAssange. Any other similar handles, such as @JulianAssange_ ‏, are parodies or otherwise unrelated. A search for @JulianAssange on Twitter during the period when the account was gone resulted in the following:

Twitter has not commented as of press time. Twitter

This message means that it's likely Assange deleted his account himself. Had it been suspended by Twitter for any number of reasons, the same search would have redirected to a generic message saying the account had been suspended. Newsweek has reached out to Twitter about the account's disappearance and subsequent reappearance.

Based on cached versions of his account, the most recent activity on his account before the disappearance was December 22, when he tweeted an image containing a quote attributed to himself:

"A knowledgeable, Is an empowered public, Is a free public" - Julian Assange

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, when it granted him asylum on the ground that his "human rights might be violated if he is extradited," according to the BBC. That refers to the charge of rape from the Swedish Prosecutor's Office, which issued an arrest warrent in 2010, according to the BBC.

Two women, known as "Miss W" and "Miss A," according to the BBC, have claimed that they began consensual sexual relationships with Assange, but that each became non-consensual. Assange has responded to the claims by saying they are "without basis." The WikiLeaks Twitter referred to the accusations at the time as containing "dirty tricks."

We were warned to expect "dirty tricks". Now we have the first one:

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 21, 2010

The charges against Assange originally included unlawful coercion and sexual molestation, but Swedish prosecutors have since dropped those, according to the BBC. The rape charge stood until earlier this year, when the Swedish government dropped it, saying they'd run out of options, according to Wired. However, because UK warrent still stands, Assange is more or less as stuck as he was before.

"The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy," Metropolitan Police Force, London's police agency, said in a statement, Wired reported. "Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr. Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offense. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense."

The WikiLeaks account, @WikiLeaks, remained active. At 9:41 a.m. ET, the account reappeared and tweeted the following: