Facebook bans foreign ads in Ireland abortion referendum

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News yesterday came out that Google, following Facebook's lead, is pausing or banning ads related to abortion.

Facebook had already introduced a view ads feature - which enables Irish users to see all ads any advertiser is running on Facebook in Ireland at the same time.

In a joint statement, three Irish pro-life groups - The Pro Life Campaign, Save the 8th and the Iona Institute - condemned Google's move.

"This creates a level playing field between all sides, specifically in relation to YouTube and Google searches, who can now seek to convince the Irish electorate by the strength of their argument and power of personal testimony, not by the depth of their pockets". While there are no official figures available as to the spending of foreign actors on ads up until this point, social media had been discussing the spike in online ads anecdotally for the last number of weeks.

The move comes amid global concerns about online election meddling and the role of internet ads in swaying voters.

This will not limit or omit any content found in Google searches and will focus on the ads.

Independent Senator Alice Mary Higgins rebutted McGuirk's comments, stating that "all sides are affected equally by this measure".

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"That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message from one side".

Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have made a decision to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the eighth amendment.

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.

Google announced last week that it would be introducing a verification process for USA election ads as part of efforts to protect the integrity of elections.

On Wednesday, Google announced it would suspend all advertising related to the May 25 abortion referendum, which pro-life activists said was "scandalous" and "an attempt to rig the referendum".

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