Google bans abortion ads ahead of Irish referendum

The Irish abortion referendum

The Irish abortion referendum

Twitter has also moved to ban referendum ads for the remainder of the campaign, while Facebook had announced earlier this week that it was blocking all ads that come from advertisers outside of Ireland.

The vote takes place on May 25.

Google is suspending all advertising connected to an Ireland pro-life bill in an effort to protect "election integrity", the tech giant announced Wednesday. It seems Google has made a decision to block all pro-life campaign ads ahead of the election, citing the integrity of the election.

The policy change comes a day after Facebook said it would no longer accept ads from outside the country that seeks to influence the referendum.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in San Diego
Sessions' visit marks the third high-profile Trump administration visit to the border region in the last two months. Sessions said Americans for decades have been "pleading" for tighter immigration enforcement.

Both companies claimed they are concerned about foreign groups influencing the election through ads on their platforms. The ban includes ads on the YouTube video platform, which is owned by Google. Although Irish law bans foreign donations to political campaigns, there had been concerns that overseas campaigners were still able to spend potentially unlimited sums buying adverts targeting Irish voters.

In a public policy blog post earlier this month, the company's policy SVP Kent Walker talked up the steps the company is taking to (as he put it) "support... election integrity through greater advertising transparency", saying it's rolling out new policies for US election ads across its platforms, including requiring additional verification for election ad buyers, such as confirmation that an advertiser is a USA citizen or lawful permanent resident.

'Fake news has already had a corrosive impact on the referendum debate on social media, ' he said, in reference to the impact of misinformation on the Brexit vote and the 2016 United States presidential election.

Campaign co-director Ailbhe Smyth said: "We believe this referendum will be won on facts, and now when undecided voters are searching online, they'll see the most relevant answers to their questions - not the ones that are paid to be put in front of them". Now in Ireland abortion only happens in extreme situations.

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