Google bans abortion ads ahead of Irish referendum

May 11, 2018, 04:17
Google bans abortion ads ahead of Irish referendum

This follows a decision made by social media giant Facebook to ban all ads on its platform related to the referendum that are produced by advertisers based outside of Ireland. Facebook announced similar plans a day earlier, though with a more limited scope.

Google said its decision - which includes ads on YouTube - comes as part of its "election integrity efforts globally". Facebook has plenty of motive to try and prevent foreign actors from buying politically charged ads.

At a joint press conference on Wednesday, No campaigners said that the move was taken out of fear the No side might win.

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John McGuirk from Save the 8th says it's an attempt rig the referendum.

Voters are being asked whether they want to repeal the country's Eighth Amendment, a clause in the constitution that protects "the right to life of the unborn."

If Irish people vote to repeal it, laws allowing the termination of pregnancies up to 12 weeks will be permissible.

This will not limit or omit any content found in Google searches and will focus on the ads.

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.

It added: "Online was the only platform available to the No campaign to speak to voters directly". That platform is now being undermined, in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side.

He said it was particularly important given Ireland is the European headquarters for Google and Facebook. Their platforms repeatedly have censored and blocked pro-life information while allowing pro-abortion activists to post lies and deceptions freely and openly.

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