Facebook Is Blocking Foreign Ads Relating to Ireland's Abortion Referendum

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The move comes as platforms grow increasingly anxious that ads on their sites could be used to distort the result of the referendum on a repeal of Ireland's abortion ban.

The polls have narrowed, the text reads, and "clearly there is fear in establishment Ireland" that this referendum will be defeated.

Yes campaigners have suggested it creates a "level playing field", while No campaigners have claimed it is an attempt to "rig the referendum". It seems that, while Google kept its promise to censor pro-life campaign ads, searches on its platform show various pro-choice advertising.

Today, as part of our efforts to help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from undue influence, we will begin rejecting ads related to the referendum if they are being run by advertisers based outside of Ireland'.

In a statement issued last night, Mr Leahy also said there can be an over-emphasis on the role of social media during campaigns.

Concerns had been raised about the unregulated nature of online advertising and how people can be targeted in the context of the upcoming vote. That platform is now being undermined, in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side.

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Google is to suspend all advertisements related to Ireland's May 25 abortion referendum from Thursday amid worries about election integrity, the USA firm said in an emailed statement.

Yesterday, in an unprecedented move, Google opted out of taking any more advertisements relating to the vote after criticism of foreign funds and anonymous accounts.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Google said: "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".

However this US -first focus leaves other regions vulnerable to election fiddlers - hence Google deciding to suspend ad buys around the Irish vote, albeit tardily.

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