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08th May 2018

Facebook bans Eighth Amendment-related ads from advertisers based outside Ireland

Michael Lanigan

The social network will be introducing a series of tools so advertisers must verify their location.

Facebook will no longer accept any advertisements related to the upcoming abortion referendum if they are coming from advertisers based outside Ireland.

Facebook made the announcement after concerns were raised about organisations based outside Ireland who were trying to influence the outcome of the referendum by buying ads.

In a statement, Facebook said: “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.”

In order to increase transparency around political advertising, Facebook has been developing a series of “election integrity tools”, which will seek to inform users who the payee is and where they are from.

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

“Out view ads feature – which enables Irish Facebook users to see all of the ads any advertiser is running on Facebook in Ireland at the same time – has been fast-tracked and is operational today.”

The statement goes on to note that the integrity tool will require the advertiser to verify their location.

“What we are now doing for the referendum on the Eighth Amendment will allow us to operate as though these tools, which are not yet fully available, were in place today with respect to foreign referendum-related advertising. We feel the spirit of this approach is also consistent with the Irish electoral law that prohibits campaigns from accepting foreign donations.”

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

“We understand the sensitivity of this campaign and will be working hard to ensure neutrality at all stages.”

Previously, Facebook launched a ‘view ads’ feature in Ireland on 25 April, enabling users to see every ad that any advertiser is running on the platform in Ireland at the same time.

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