Google is banning Irish abortion referendum ads ahead of vote

Hannah Rogers
May 11, 2018

The referendum is due to take place on May 25.

The National Review reports the decisions by Facebook and Google "disproportionately [harm] pro-life advocates who have relied more heavily than their opponents on digital advertising".

The same link, which is made to look like a news article, .

Facebook's move is likely to be directly related to this fear: and a fear that if the referendum were defeated, the company would face questions about its role in influencing votes, as it has in the USA and UK.

TECH GIANTS Google and YouTube have declared that they will ban all ads relating to the upcoming referendum on abortion.

Campaigners on both sides of the referendum argument have spoken out after Google had officially announced the ban on the ads in relation to the referendum.

It is unclear if Google will unpause the ads after the vote. Although Irish law bans foreign donations to political campaigns, there had been concerns that overseas campaigners were still able to spend potentially unlimited sums buying adverts targeting Irish voters. The company said that "foreign entities" appeared to be trying to influence the result.

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The company announced last week it would be rolling out a verification process for election adverts in the United States and pledged to look at a wider range of elections globally.

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

But at a press conference called by the pro-life campaign Save the 8th and the Iona Institute, campaigners claimed that the decision to ban ads on Google had been taken "because one side in this referendum is terrified of losing and wants to prevent voters from being informed".

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

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

Abortion is illegal in Ireland under the amendment unless there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother.

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