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Facebook bans foreign advertisers during Ireland abortion vote

14 May 2018, 03:16 | Pamela Mathis

Facebook blocking foreign ads targeting Irish abortion referendum

Facebook bans foreign ads in effort to limit interference in Ireland's abortion referendum

Facebook clarified that it still allows ads from groups within Ireland, including those that employ foreign service providers.

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.

"We welcome this announcement from Facebook and we'll work with them from now until May 25 to ensure no foreign ads are targeted at Irish voters on Facebook", Dwyer said.

Given how close the vote now is both tech giants have been accused of acting too late to prevent foreign interests from using their platforms to exploit a loophole in Irish law to get around a ban on foreign donations to political campaigns by pouring money into unregulated digital advertising instead.

Voters must decide whether to cancel the norm of the Constitution, which States "the right to life of the unborn".

Google is making this decision amidst concern that ads from overseas could have an impact on the democratic process here in Ireland. "[It's] scandalous, and it is an attempt to rig the election".

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USA -based pro-life groups are among those who have bought online ads in the country ahead of the vote, ABC reports. Everyone who is paying any attention to the campaign knows that the pro-life side is being shut out of the debate by the mainstream media.

But pro-lifers believe "election integrity" is a pretext to give pro-abortion forces an unfair advantage. Google is now showing a range of ads about the Irish referendum, which will take place on 25 May.

If Irish people vote to repeal it, laws allowing the termination of pregnancies up to 12 weeks will be permissible.

In National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote that although Google's decision may seem neutral, it will likely do more damage to the pro-life campaign.

Campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth said of the ban: "We welcome confirmation today from Google that they are going to stop running political advertisements over the next 24 hours". Now in Ireland there is practically a complete ban on abortion, and abortion can very rarely.

Debate over the Eighth has bitterly divided the Irish public, but it has also drawn the attention of worldwide interest groups.



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