Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Google to ban ads related to referendum

The Irish abortion referendum The Irish abortion referendum
Gustavo Carr | 13 May, 2018, 08:01

US -based anti-abortion groups are among those who have bought online ads in Ireland during the campaign. As is usual in the democratic process, both sides of the argument began campaigns to advocate for their interests, though it seems in this case one side has been given a substantial advantage.

Fianna Fail technology spokesman James Lawless said the "positive" decisions made by Google and Facebook come "far too late in the day".

Facebook is to ban ads relating to the Irish abortion referendum if they originate from outside the country. A fair point if only it were truthful.

Voters are being asked whether they want to retain the constitutional ban or repeal it and make parliament responsible for creating abortion laws.

A spokeswoman for the pro-choice campaigning group "Together For Yes" welcomed the ban on Google Search and YouTube referendum ads.

The move follows an announcement by Facebook yesterday saying it had stopped accepting referendum related ads paid for by foreign entities.

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Ireland prohibits foreigners from donating to political campaigns, but the restriction does not apply to social media advertising, according to the AP.

"Online was the only platform available to the No campaign to speak to voters directly".

If the amendment is repealed, government leaders plan to push a proposal to legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and later in a broad range of circumstances.

Last month, Facebook announced that it would be using the 8th Amendment referendum as a testing ground for new tools to screen out fake accounts and foreign interference, as well as show users data on the spending and groups behind ads.

"This is an issue we have been thinking about for some time", the company, which has its European headquarters in Dublin, announced in a Tuesday blog post. "That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side".

'Fake news has already had a corrosive impact on the referendum debate on social media, ' he said, in reference to the impact of misinformation on the Brexit vote and the 2016 United States presidential election.