Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Facebook to block foreign spending on Irish abortion vote ads

Facebook to block foreign spending on Irish abortion vote ads

Ads funded from overseas through a legitimate organisation in Ireland will not be prevented.

"We have already begun to roll out the first of our ads transparency tools in Ireland", the statement continued.

Facebook says starting on Tuesday it will "begin rejecting ads related to the referendum if they are being run by advertisers based outside of Ireland".

The social media company has made the decision amid growing concern that individuals and organisations based outside of the country are trying to sway the result of the referendum and influence undecided voters through ad campaigns.

Facebook has moved to block foreign advertisements relating to the upcoming Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

It added that the change will apply to "ads we determine to be coming from foreign entities which are attempting to influence the outcome of the vote on May 25".

Pro-abortion forces both inside Ireland and internationally have carried on an intense campaign to persuade the Irish to abandon their defense of preborn children, with the help of celebrities like U2's Bono and actor Liam Neeson as well as global financiers such as George Soros.

However, Facebook insists that it will not be blocking campaigns and advocacy organisations in Ireland from using service providers outside Ireland.

Facebook will be working with political parties, groups from both the yes and no campaigns and the Transparent Referendum Initiative - these groups will be notifying Facebook about concerning ad campaigns, which the firm will then assess.

"Our goal is simple: to help ensure a free, fair and transparent vote on this important issue".

Ireland's eighth amendment to its constitution, codifies the country's stance on abortion: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right".

On April 25th, Facebook launched the view ads feature in Ireland.

The company said it would rely on reports from established campaign groups on both sides of the campaign to identify foreign-based ads, as its automated election integrity tools are still in development.

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