Biden, Trump campaigns blame Facebook for ad problems

The campaigns for former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump said Friday they were having difficulty running some ads on Facebook, hindering their ability to reach voters on social media for at least the second straight day.

“We are just a few days from the election & thousands of pre-approved Biden ads are still not live on Facebook,” Biden adviser Megan Clasen tweeted.

“We are working with FB (flagging problems, having meetings, etc.) to try to resolve each specific issue - but unclear when they can be fixed,” she said. The Biden campaign had described similar frustrations Thursday.

The Trump campaign said it also was experiencing technical issues Friday, though it did not give details.

“The Silicon Valley Mafia is now turning it up a notch, stopping us from running approved ads in the days before millions of Americans cast their ballots,” Trump campaign spokesperson Samantha Zager said in an email. She said Facebook’s rules around ads amounted to censorship.

A Facebook "like" sign at Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, Calif., last year.Josh Edelson / AFP - Getty Images file

The Facebook advertising platform is the second-biggest on the internet after Google’s and includes Instagram as well as the Facebook app, making it an important channel for political campaigns trying to persuade voters and turn out their supporters.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, but the tech company said in a statement late Thursday that it was experiencing “technical flaws.”

“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 during this period,” Facebook said.

The company said there was no partisanship involved. “The technical problems were automated and impacted ads from across the political spectrum and both Presidential campaigns,” Facebook said.

“We understand that time is of the essence at this stage of the campaign season,” it said.

Facebook said the problems began some time after a Tuesday morning deadline for advertisers to finalize the ads they planned to run during the final week of the campaign. Facebook is preventing new ads from running in the final week to slow possible misinformation but is allowing previously placed ads to repeat.

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