Facebook breakdowns make it possible to repatriate banned US election advertising

Facebook on Monday acknowledged flaws in enforcing its policies to remove misleading political advertisements for the US election after a report revealed that banned news was circulated.

The social media giant, which has been under intense scrutiny of its handling of political misinformation, said it took action after loopholes were identified in a media report that allowed activist groups to republish advertisements after fact-checking by third parties had been banned.

The Wall Street Journal report Some advertisements supporting President Donald Trump and containing false claims about Democrat Joe Biden were republished and shared by a conservative group after the original news was blocked.

Facebook began removing the newly published ads over the weekend after the Journal report.

“When a fact checker applies a rating, we apply a label and downgrade it while rejecting it as an ad. This goes for all ratings,” a Facebook spokesman told AFP.

“We’ve reviewed these ads and are taking action against those who violate our guidelines. We’re also working to improve searches for similar ads that have already been rated.”

The Journal said the ads were run by the American Principles Project, a conservative group, containing false claims that Biden supports the radical left anti-fascist movement and supports sex reassignment surgery for children.

Last week, Facebook had a rocky start in its efforts to ban new political messages a week before the November 3rd elections.

Rival parties complained that despite the policy, new ads were being displayed.

“We are investigating the issue of some ads being incorrectly paused and some advertisers having trouble making changes to their campaigns,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook product manager, in a tweet message when the ban went into effect on Tuesday.

“We’re working on these corrections quickly.”

California-based company Facebook tightened its political advertising rules ahead of the 2020 election. In particular, it has banned attempts to undermine the electoral process.

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