Fb detects and fixes technical bugs affecting political advertisements days earlier than the election


The founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, speaks during the 56th Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany.

Christof Stache | AFP | Getty Images

Facebook released an update for political advertisers on Thursday confirming that a technical glitch in its systems resulted in a number of ads from both political parties not pausing properly.

"Although this affected a small fraction of the political and social ads in our system, we regret that these ads were suspended during this period," the company said in a blog post.

The bug stems from a policy change Facebook announced in early September to block new political ads in the week leading up to the November 3rd US presidential election.

A technical error has wrongly stopped "a number of ads" related to this policy decision, Facebook said. In addition, some "advertisers failed to understand the instructions" Facebook provided, which also resulted in their ads being paused, the company said.

The issues concerned "ads across the political spectrum and both presidential campaigns," the company said, adding that no ad was paused due to partisan concerns. The company made updates to serve the affected ads.

Biden campaign digital director Rob Flaherty complained on Twitter today that just five days before the election, Facebook hadn't addressed issues related to the campaign's ads.

The disorder comes less than a week before the election. Numerous candidates rely on Facebook to target voters and donors with advertisements.

According to CNBC analysis, US political advertisers spent at least $ 264 million on Facebook in the third quarter, which is roughly 1.2% of the company's revenue for the quarter.


Katherine Clark