Google to ban all ads related to Irish abortion referendum

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The move follows growing concern about the influence of foreign campaigners in the referendum despite rules prohibiting campaign groups from receiving funding from outside the Republic.

Google has announced that they will be banning all ads relating to the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Meanwhile, Facebook said Tuesday it will block foreign adverts aimed at the Irish referendum, "as part of our efforts to help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from undue influence".

Gavin Sheridan, CEO of Vizlegal, said social media companies were in reactive mode and it should not be their job to police advertising.

The ban will go into effect in the next 24 hours and will last until the campaign is over.




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. The company will put a moratorium on all referendum-related advertising on its Google search pages as well as on YouTube in an effort to ensure advertising on its site doesn't tip the vote on the controversial topic.

The referendum is due to take place on May 25.

"What is happening here is not about one side or the other, it's about democracy and transparency", Higgins said.

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". Depending on what you search online, advertisers can select terms that make their ads appear when you search that term.

The move comes amid global concerns about online election meddling and the role of internet ads in swaying voters. Groups supporting the "Repeal The Eighth" movement, such as the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, have sought to highlight how thousands of Irish women a year are forced to leave the country, simply in order to get access to safe abortion services.

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