Meta glitch causes advertising campaigns to overspend

25 Apr 2023

Image: © MMollaretti/

It is unclear how many businesses were affected, but some users claim most of their daily ad budget was used up within hours.

A recent Meta bug caused significant disruptions for advertising campaigns on its platforms, with claims that customers were overcharged.

The disruption was detected on Sunday 23 April and impacted ad deliveries, according to Meta’s Ad Status Manager page. The social media company said the issue was resolved yesterday (24 April) after midnight, nearly 16 hours after it was detected.

During this period, businesses conducting ad campaigns shared complaints that they were being charged extra for ads that weren’t being seen.

The impact appears to be varied for users, as one company co-founder claimed two-thirds of their daily advertising budget was spent by noon with a “horrible” return on advertising spend, before stabilising later in the day.

On Twitter, AI data platform Triple Whale claimed the average advertising spending for a “typical Sunday” went up by 147pc “with nothing to show for it”. The platform claims it looked at the spend of a sample of roughly 2,300 US shops.

“In Triple Whale’s brief history, we’ve never seen anything like this,” the AI platform said. “But since it looks like a bug and smells like a bug, we’re sure Meta will do the right thing and issue refunds.”

A Meta spokesperson said the glitch affected ad delivery on Facebook, while other Meta sites were unaffected, Gizmodo reports. The spokesperson also said the company will follow its “normal refund process”.

It is estimated that roughly 3m businesses actively advertise on Facebook, with Meta claiming 70pc of its advertisers come from outside the US. It is unclear how many businesses were affected by the glitch.

The ads issue comes a week after Meta announced another wave of job cuts across its teams. This wave was part of a cost-cutting push Mark Zuckerberg announced in March, which will eventually see 10,000 employees leave the company.

This is in addition to the job cuts Meta announced last November that affected 11,000 employees – including 300 in Ireland.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic