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Biden, Trump campaigns say technical problems at Facebook are blocking ads

The social media company acknowledged "technical flaws" a day earlier, saying they were automated and affected both Democratic and Republican advertisers.

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.

In a statement late Friday, Facebook said the issue was mostly fixed.

“We are working directly with both Presidential campaigns to work through some remaining ad delivery issues, which we expect to resolve for all advertisers. The vast majority of the ads that were incorrectly paused are now running," Facebook spokesperson Elana Widmann said in an email.

The tech company had earlier said 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 in a statement Thursday.

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,” it said in the earlier statement.

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.