Google Pauses AdWords Abortion Ads In Ireland

Facebook has blocked foreign adverts that target voters in Ireland's upcoming abortion referendum.

A campaigner on transparency issues has said social media companies including Google and Facebook are self-regulating advertising on the referendum on the Eighth Amendment in the absence of proper policy by the Government.

Facebook announced it would be banning all ads relating to the referendum that had come from foreign sources.

Despite this there have been repeated concerns about how the social network's paid advertising product has been used during the election campaign, prompting the Irish government to consider a new law forcing internet companies to reveal who is paying for online political adverts.

Several prominent pro-life groups held a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a decision made by Google this week that all ads related to the forthcoming abortion referendum will be henceforth banned from the website.

Google is banning all referendum ads just over two weeks from voting day.

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On the 25th of May 2018, the Irish abortion referendum will take place. Facebook has plenty of motive to try and prevent foreign actors from buying politically charged ads.

Independent News & Media, Ireland's largest digital media platform, says that it will allow digital ads from both campaigns provided that they are "factual" and are "not offensive".

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

Mr Lawless has been pushing for a law requiring all online advertisers to disclose the publishers and sponsors behind ads.

The news comes amid increasing focus on how online ads were used in campaigns like the Brexit referendum or the 2016 USA election.

Ireland does not allow political donations from overseas but that has not been applied to social media, something some United States groups, particularly anti-abortion groups, had taken advantage of to buy online ads.


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