Facebook reported some technical glitches that improperly paused certain political ads from both Donald Trump and Joe Biden campaigns. The media giant has now fixed the issues ahead of the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, and most political ads are now running without any problems.
The company’s latest revelation follows complaints from Biden camp that thousands of its ads had been blocked. The campaign reportedly alleged that Facebook had no sense of the scale of the problem, and that it was wholly unprepared to handle the election.
In a blog post, the tech company revealed that it began restricting new political and issue ads ahead of next week’s election starting October 27, 12:01 am PT, so that all political ads would be searchable in its public ad library in advance of Election Day. The motive was to ensure maximum transparency of political advertising.
Since the restriction took effect, the company identified a number of unanticipated issues, including technical issues, affecting campaigns of both political parties. The technical flaws also prevented advertisers from making permissible changes to their ads.
The company also noted that a number of ads were paused because certain advertisers did not understand the instructions about when and how to make changes to ad targeting.
Noting that it has maintained a neutral playing field throughout this election, Facebook said, “No ad was paused or rejected by a person, or because of any partisan consideration. The technical problems were automated and impacted ads from across the political spectrum and both Presidential campaigns.”
In early October, Facebook had revealed its plans to ban ads that seek to delegitimize the Presidential election, in line with its decision to prohibit ads that make premature declarations of victory.
The company also plans to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral or political ads in the US after the polls close on November 3 to protect the integrity of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
The move would reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse related to the election as it may take longer than previous elections to get the final results due to the coronavirus pandemic and more people voting by mail.
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