Political ads ‘active’ on Facebook despite post-Election Day ban

A number of elections-related ads were still listed as “active” in Facebook’s political ads library Wednesday morning, after the company’s post-election ban on political ads went into effect.

The company said it can take 24 hours to reflect changes in the library, even if the ads are paused from being shown to users.

In early October, the company announced it would stop running political ads in the U.S. after polls closed for the 2020 election and keep them halted for an indefinite period. The company said the temporary ban was expected to last about one week, but that it would be subject to change.

As of Wednesday around 8 a.m. ET, CNBC was able to find dozens of political ads on Facebook’s ads library still listed as active. Those included ads run by “Evangelicals for Trump” and “We are Great Again PAC,” along with those from vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and the Democratic Party. Facebook director of product management Rob Leathern explained on Twitter that it can take a full day for the ad library to reflect changes made on an ad. 

The company told CNBC it’s possible the library will temporarily show some ads as active and spending on Wednesday, even if they were paused as of midnight, and said the library should soon correct “any minor inconsistencies in how the data is presented.”

Facebook’s handling of political advertising has been rocky in the days leading up to the election. Last week, the company allowed President Donald Trump’s campaign to run ads that implied victory, that boasted about GDP figures that hadn’t been released yet and others that implored people to “vote today” with graphics reading “Election Day is Today,” days before the election. Facebook said at the time it would be removing the “vote today” ads following inquiries. 

The company last week also suffered what it said was a technological issue that caused several ads from both political parties to be improperly paused.

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