Facebook Bans Foreign Ads On Irish Abortion Referendum

Facebook Bans Foreign Ads On Irish Abortion Referendum

Facebook stated the ban will apply equally to both sides of the debate and that it has "built relationships with political parties, groups representing both sides of the campaign".

It said that as part of these efforts, it is building tools that would require potential advertisers to verify that they are resident in the country where the election is taking place.

Facebook has been under fire over its lack of transparency following the revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested its data to inform Russian political advertising during the United States presidential election.

Although the Offenses Against the Person Act made abortion illegal in 1861, the Irish held a referendum to amend the Constitution of Ireland and create the Eighth Amendment, making the ban unalterable unless through another referendum, which will be held May 25.

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

Facebook also brought forward the introduction of its "view ads" tool that allows users to see all the ads a page is running on Facebook at a particular time.

Facebook will then investigate and assess the ads.

Its campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth said: "We view this as a clear recognition by Facebook that external forces with vast resources can have disproportionate yet impactful influence in political campaigns". These ads pushed divisive issues like gun rights, immigration fears, and racial strife, according to Facebook, and were often imbalanced with regard to the candidates: mostly pro-Donald Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton. The problem came from interference in elections in the U.S. and in other areas as well. Those efforts will direct our artificial intelligence capabilities to identify fake accounts, misinformation, or foreign interference.

The results were welcomed by Together For Yes who say poll shows consistent support for a Yes vote on the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment. This also includes the ability to evaluate certain photo and video content. Stories rated as false by TheJournal.ie will see their distribution significantly reduced. People are well aware that we already have abortion in Ireland, and that it is a reality.

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Facebook Ireland is a member of Media Literacy Ireland and supportive of its aim of empowering people in Ireland with the skills and knowledge to engage with and understand traditional and new media.

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