Belfast Telegraph

Local Election 2019

Facebook bans election ad saying Downpatrick in Republic of Ireland

Cadogan Enright is standing for re-election to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
Cadogan Enright is standing for re-election to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

A Northern Ireland election candidate has claimed he has been blocked from posting adverts on Facebook after the social media giant recorded his Co Down address as being in the Republic of Ireland.

Cadogan Enright, who lives in Downpatrick and is seeking re-election to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said he has been unable to post adverts for more than nine weeks, reports BBC NI.

The independent councillor believes the error is due to rules introduced by Facebook aimed at preventing foreign interference in elections, following alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential race.

In order to post adverts on the platform, Mr Enright has to confirm his identity and address. He has provided Facebook with 29 separate identification forms in order to prove Downpatrick is in the UK, not the Republic of Ireland.

Last week, he received a message from Facebook's support team stating: "It is my understanding that our system has located your post code address BT30 6DN (UK) to the Republic of Ireland.

"Please be informed that I am working on this case with our expert team. As soon as I have any information, I will let you know."

The councillor has even asked the council's chief executive to write to the social media giant to confirm the entire council area is indeed in the UK, however the problem has persisted.

A Facebook spokesperson said: "Last year, we introduced new tools and policies in the United Kingdom to help prevent abuse and election interference.

"Our enforcement of this policy will never be perfect, and we apologise for the delay in this case during the authorizations process".

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