Facebook's eleventh hour strategy of banning political ads is eliciting rebukes from both sides of the political aisle. Mere days before the presidential election takes place, Facebook has come under fire for reportedly removing "thousands of ads" from presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign, Politico reports.
The outlet notes that the mass removal "erroneously" took down ads that had already received the green light to run on the social network. Biden's campaign told Politico that the removed ads have cost Biden half a million dollars through projected donations but more importantly, the banned ads have cost Facebook even more favorability among politicians. With tech hearings centered on its alleged monopoly and now with wiped out ads, Mark Zuckerberg is making more enemies than friends this wild election season.
A disaster — The presidential candidate's director Rob Flaherty told Politico that Facebook provided "no clarity on the widespread issues that are plaguing all of our ad campaigns since the onset of their new ad restrictions" and that the company must "take steps today to clearly rectify and explain the depth of this fiasco."
The company notes that the restriction went into effect at midnight on October 27. "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. Some were technical problems," it noted in a blog post.
"Others were because advertisers did not understand the instructions we provided about when and how to make changes to ad targeting," Facebook added. "We have implemented changes to fix these issues, and most political ads are now running without any problems. We are continuing to monitor closely to make sure all of our fixes work and ads are running as intended well in advance of the election."
Anticipating criticism and accusations of favoring one presidential contender over the other, Facebook added that "no ad was paused or rejected by a person, or because of any partisan consideration." The company is in a tough spot right now. As Input previously reported, millions of daily and monthly active users in the United States and Canada have left the network, with predictions coming from the inside that the trend will continue.
The network is also under criticism for inadvertently giving rise to the far-right conspiracy movement known as QAnon. With the Biden campaign slamming Facebook ads removal, a possible "kill switch" operation in the scenario that Donald Trump disputes the 2020 election, and employees seething about Facebook's role in national politics, Zuckerberg has a lot to deal with right now — and much of it seems to be his own doing.