Facebook to reject abortion referendum ads from outside Ireland
Facebook will no longer accept ads from groups outside of Ireland related to the upcoming abortion referendum, the social network announced Tuesday.
The move comes amid growing alarm from politicians and activists about outside influence ahead of the May 25 vote on repealing Irelands abortion ban.
“Today, as part of our efforts to help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from undue influence, we will begin rejecting ads related to the referendum if they are being run by advertisers based outside of Ireland,” Facebook said in a statement.
As both sides of the Atlantic recoil over revelations about the now-defunct British data firm Cambridge Analyticas unauthorized use of Facebook data during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Irelands vote has emerged as a key test case for the social network to show it can be trusted.
In a bid to gain confidence, Facebook launched a pilot of its “View Ads” tool in Ireland last month. The aim is to shine a light on so-called dark ads, which are only displayed to a specific group, by allowing users to see all the paid posts related to the referendum.
The new restriction on foreign ads is most likely to affect the anti-abortion side. Independent efforts to track Facebook ads found that most of the promoted material from outside of Ireland urges voters to retain the constitutions eighth amendment, which gives mother and the unborn an equal right to life.
Recent polls show a lead for repeal, but support is slipping. About one in five voters are undecided.