Facebook bans foreign ads targeting Irish abortion referendum

Yes and No buses visit Dundalk over the weekend ahead of referendum on the Eighth Amendment

Yes and No buses visit Dundalk over the weekend ahead of referendum on the Eighth Amendment

Facebook has said similar tools will be rolled out in other countries, with analysts and observers focused in particular on the 2018 midterm elections in the United States.

We have also built relationships with political parties, groups representing both sides of the campaign and with the Transparent Referendum Initiative, who we are asking to notify us if they have concerns about ad campaigns.

The Facebook social network said on Tuesday that it would not accept foreign ads related to the referendum of abortions that would be held in Ireland on May 25.

Facebook says it will block foreign adverts aimed at Ireland's referendum on abortion later this month. The country's data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, warned last month that actors overseas could try to sway the highly anticipated vote.

"Concerns have been raised about organisations and individuals based outside of Ireland trying to influence the outcome of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland by buying ads on Facebook", the company said in a statement. The company also said it would use artificial-intelligence technology to spot potentially problematic material. Part of that will require the advertiser to be resident in the country where the election is taking place. The Times previously reported that a US-based anti-abortion group had paid to target Irish voters... The business has shifted its news-feed algorithm to deemphasize political news, and has appreciated thousands of moderators internationally to spot rumors and extremist articles.

The referendum ads change comes following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

'A welcome development': Facebook says it will ban all Eighth referendum ads from foreign sources

The Irish Transparent Referendum Initiative has identified several ads paid for by United Kingdom and US-based anti-abortion groups targeting users in Ireland ahead of the referendum.

On April 25th, Facebook launched the view ads feature in Ireland.

Users are now able to see all of the content originating from the Facebook account behind those posts, rather than just the ads or stories targeted at them.

Facebook has not applied such a policy to British elections or referendums. "Yet we have even less information on these advertisements than we do on Facebook ads".

Nor is it clear what proportion of the total amount spent on Facebook ads is made up of foreign-sourced ads of the type that are now banned by the social-media company.

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