Facebook political ads misidentification

Occurred: December 2021

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A joint study between researchers at New York University and KU Leuven in Belgium has found that Facebook missed 83 percent of political ads they ran on Facebook. 

The researchers ran 189,000 political ads between July 2020 and February 2021 through Facebook's then new authorisation process for political advertising and discovered that the company misidentified 21% of ads for products as being political and 62% of overtly political ads.

The researchers also identified over 70,000 political ads running on Facebook during a temporary ban on political advertising that Facebook had imposed during the US presidential election, many of them by organisations that had only run political ads on the platform.

Operator: Meta/Facebook
Developer: Meta/Facebook
Country: Brazil; US; Global
Sector: Politics
Purpose: Authorise political advertising
Technology: Political advertising authorisation process
Issue: Accuracy/reliability
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: December 2021