Government coronavirus information adverts wrongly disabled by Facebook across its platforms

The ad began running on July 20 and according to Facebook Ads Library, a database of adverts running on Facebook, is currently inactive.

Another advert wrongly pulled was a campaign advising people to “avoid large crowds this weekend” which first ran on July 2 and cost the government between £2,000 and £2,500.

The advert was scheduled to run until August 2.

Other Government ads pulled by Facebook include an NHS Test and Trace advert which cost the Government between £35,000 and £40,000.

Also wrongly taken down by Facebook were Government campaigns highlighting problems of domestic abuse during lockdown, which the Government spent thousands on.

Facebook is a key advertising channel for the Government. Between October 2018 and 18 August this year, the Government spent £1,846,944 on social issues, election and politics advertising with the social media giant.

In the seven days to August 19, it spent £19,950.

A spokesperson for Facebook said: “Several UK Government ads were incorrectly disabled for running without a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer and have been reinstated. We apologise for the error.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The Government has used social media channels and platforms, including Facebook, to provide vital public health information to the public during the pandemic. This guidance has helped to slow the spread of the virus and protect the NHS.

“We support the work of social media companies to make political advertising more transparent and have worked with Facebook to reduce approval times for all Covid-19-related activity.”

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