Facebook bans foreign spending on Ireland abortion vote ads

Facebook bans foreign spending on Ireland abortion vote ads

The company, which was heavily criticised for failing to stop Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, announced yesterday that it had banned advertisements relating to the sensitive referendum that did not originate inside Ireland.

As both sides of the Atlantic recoil over revelations about the now-defunct British data firm Cambridge Analytica's unauthorized use of Facebook data during the 2016 US presidential election, Ireland's vote has emerged as a key test case for the social network to show it can be trusted.

The social network said on Tuesday it would reject ads related to the May 25 vote, which could repeal the country's ban on abortion if the messages were purchased by "advertisers outside of Ireland".

In a statement today, Facebook admitted it was an issue they had been "thinking about for some time".

"Today, as part of our".

The page seemed designed, Sheridan said, to draw in undecided voters who would then be targeted with personalized ads for the campaign that seeks to maintain Ireland's conservative abortion laws.

The Facebook statement added: "The additional election integrity tools we are building include a verification process that requires the advertiser to be resident in the country where the election is taking place".




Irish voters will decide on May 25 whether to repeal a constitutional ban on abortion - a referendum that has drawn worldwide attention.

The company said the ban related to Ireland would be effective from May 8, and enforced partly through campaign groups identifying and reporting suspected foreign adverts.

On April 25, the company launched a trial of a "view ads" tool, which allows users to view all of the ads any advertiser is running on Facebook in Ireland at the same time. "They were late with Russian interference in the USA election ..."

Last month Irish data protection commissioner Helen Dixon raised concern that foreign actors could try to influence the referendum. "All their announcements seem created to stave off regulation, and for me it boils down to do we allow them to self-regulate, or do we regulate ourselves". But the legislation does not cover money spent directly on digital advertising, a loophole that observers say has been exploited by groups overseas wishing to influence the vote. It also indicated that it will implement the same rule for future elections in Ireland, disallowing any ads that do not come from registered entities in Ireland.

He and Carolan welcomed Facebook's move and pointed out that Google and its subsidiary YouTube had yet to make any similar commitment.

Ads uploaded to Facebook by organisations based in the country could still be funded by foreign sources, however.

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