Google bans abortion referendum ads in Ireland

11 May, 2018, 04:22 | Author: Charlene Valdez
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Now in Ireland, social media and internet companies are not banned from accepting ads from groups outside of the state, while campaign groups are not allowed to receive foreign funding.

Under heightened scrutiny for its role in influencing recent political campaigns, Facebook announced it is banning foreign ads relating to Ireland's upcoming referendum on abortion.

"Our company approach is to build tools to increase transparency around political advertising so that people know who is paying for the ads they are seeing, and to ensure any organisation running a political ad is located in that country".

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The ban will go into effect in the next 24 hours and will last until the campaign is over.

Google will begin enforcing the measure, which will apply to all its platforms including the phenomenally popular YouTube video channel, on Thursday and continue until the May 25 ballot, according to the spokesman.

He said a number of No groups had earmarked significant spending on the platform ahead of the referendum on 25 May to reach voters, and that it was a legitimate means of doing so. The company said that "foreign entities" appeared to be trying to influence the result. "That explains the massive pressure exerted on Google, Facebook, and other platforms to deny advertising space to the NO campaign", it said.

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John McGuirk speaking to the media about Google's decision to remove adverts to do with the 8th Referendum on their platform.

Google is making this decision amidst concern that ads from overseas could have an impact on the democratic process here in Ireland.

Campaign co-director Ailbhe Smyth said: "We believe this referendum will be won on facts, and now when undecided voters are searching online, they'll see the most relevant answers to their questions - not the ones that are paid to be put in front of them". Domestic campaigners and groups located in Ireland are still permitted to advertise about the campaign on Facebook at the time of writing.

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