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Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Facebook bans foreign spending on Ireland abortion vote ads

Facebook bans foreign spending on Ireland abortion vote ads

Facebook on Tuesday said it would stop accepting advertisements related to an upcoming referendum on abortion in Ireland from groups based outside of the country.

The social network said that from now on it would only show Irish citizens adverts funded by organisations and people based in the Republic, in an attempt to adhere to the "principles" of Ireland's election spending rules.

In a post, Facebook says: "This is an issue we have been thinking about for some time".

"Today, as part of our".

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.

The Irish referendum on whether or not to liberalise its abortion laws will give voters the first opportunity in 35 years to repeal a constitutional amendment that has long divided the once deeply Catholic nation.

A new "view ads" tool, which is still in trial mode after launching on April 25, allows users to see all of the ads an advertiser is running on the site in Ireland.

Facebook has tried to improve its transparency after revelations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested users' data to micro-target political ads to select groups during the 2016 USA presidential race.

The delay in launching the feature, and the short time left in the campaign, led to criticism of the company. "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".

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". The problem came from interference in elections in the USA and in other areas as well. Last month, the Irish data protection commissioner said it was possible foreign actors could try to sway the referendum. It added: "We will then assess and act on those reports".

The new restriction on foreign ads is most likely to affect the anti-abortion side.

What does it mean for advertising around the referendum?

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It said that this would relate to paid of advertisements on its platform.

Facebook isn't going to let the clusterfuck of the 2016 US election debacle happen again. 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.

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