Facebook Apologises After Blocking Biden, Trump Ads

Facebook has incurred the wrath of both presidential candidates after thousands of ads from Joe Biden’s election campaign have been mistakenly blocked.

Some adverts from President Trump were also blocked by Facebook, and it comes after the social networking giant had announced in September that it would stop accepting new political ads in the week before the US Election Day on 3 November.

Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that his firm was taking that action to reduce the risks of misinformation and election interference.

Political ads

Facebook has been vigilant about election interference and recently it dismantled a Russian influence operation after it received a tip off from the FBI.

Facebook’s policy not to accept new adverts in the final week before election day kicked in on Tuesday, the BBC reported, but pre-approved ads should still run.

The digital campaign manager (Rob Flaherty) for Joe Biden took to Twitter to express his fury after some ads were blocked, and he lambasted the platform saying ““… it is abundantly clear that Facebook was wholly unprepared to handle this election despite having four years to prepare.”

But Facebook blamed technical issues, and apologised in a blog post.

“Even though the majority of political and issue ads have been unaffected, since the restriction took effect, we have identified a number of unanticipated issues affecting campaigns of both political parties,” said Facebook.

“Some were technical problems,” it said. “Others were because advertisers did not understand the instructions we provided about when and how to make changes to ad targeting. We have implemented changes to fix these issues, and most political ads are now running without any problems.”

“While this impacted a small proportion of the ads about politics and social issues in our system, we regret any disruption in the delivery of these ads,” it said.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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