In a recent article, HuffPost states that Facebook’s recent ban on political advertising ahead of the November 3 presidential election has been an “ominous disaster.”
Breitbart News reported recently that Facebook revealed in a blog post that a number of political ads were “improperly” restricted due to a technical error as the company attempted to prevent new political ads from being posted ahead of the November 3 election. Facebook stated that “technical flaws” caused a number of ads to be “paused improperly.”
Facebook stated that it has “implemented changes to fix these issues” and most of the advertisements were now running without any issues. Facebook stopped accepting new ads related to political issues on Tuesday and stated that it would allow pre-existing ads to run during that period but would block any adjustments to the ads’ content or design.
Now, HuffPost has claimed that Facebook’s efforts to prevent the spread of misinformation by cracking down on political advertising has been a “disaster.”
In practice, it has been a disaster.
The ban went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. Chaos ensued almost immediately: Thousands of previously approved ads from Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign and multiple progressive groups were wrongly blocked due to a “technical flaw,” potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. President Donald Trump’s campaign managed to launch new ads post-ban. And in violation of its own rules, Facebook approved ads from the president’s campaign prematurely declaring victory, as well as hundreds of ads bearing the misleading text “ELECTION DAY IS TODAY” or “Vote Today.”
Days later, Facebook is still putting out fires amid searing accusations of partisan bias and negligence. The company’s stunning failure to properly enforce its own high-profile policy at such a critical time has raised alarm about its preparedness for the fallout of the election — the results of which could be inconclusive for days or even weeks.
Some have claimed that the ban was less about actually preventing the spread of misinformation and was more of a PR stunt than anything else. Jesse Lehrich, the co-founder of the nonprofit Accountable Tech, told the Huffington Post: “[Facebook’s] implementation certainly has only inspired more fears over how they’re going to be able to handle these last-minute election-specific rollouts. It constantly feels like they’re dealing with optics — they’re thinking of everything as optical problems and never as structural problems.”
Read more at the Huffington Post here.