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On Election Day, a subset of Instagram users woke up to a message at the top of their Instagram feeds that read, "Tomorrow is Election Day." For some, the message was still there by the early afternoon. Instagram chalked the outdated message up to a caching issue that caused some users to continue seeing Monday's election notification.
"While we turned off the 'Tomorrow is Election Day' notice last night, it was cached for a small group of people if their app hadn't been restarted," Instagram wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, responding to a number of users who had received the message. "It's resolving itself as people restart."
Instagram spokesperson Raki Wane declined to specify how many people had been affected, but according to their tweets, a number of reporters, including from The Verge and AdWeek, received the message. Protocol also received a screenshot from a friend asking, "Why has Instagram been telling me all day so far that *tomorrow* is Election Day?!?" That screenshot was taken around 1:45 p.m. ET. Shortly after, Wane told Protocol, "Everyone should be receiving the accurate information shortly, as well as a notification in their notification center with accurate details."
There's likely little Instagram could have done to force restarts on the app overnight. But the company could have anticipated caching delays and tinkered with the language in its notifications. The week of the election, Facebook prohibited any new political ads from running on the platform, forcing campaigns to get creative with text they could use to drive people out to vote on Election Day without being outdated.