Google & Facebook Ban Ads Relating to Irish Abortion Referendum


In the wake of a heavy slew of criticism concerning the role of social media platforms in enabling outside individuals to allegedly meddle in the US election, Facebook have made the decision to ban ads relating to the Irish abortion referendum if the ad in question is being run by parties or individuals outside of Ireland. Google meanwhile have gone one step further and banned all ads relating to the referendum regardless of where they come from.

Announcing the decision earlier this week, a Facebook spokesperson stated, “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.”

A google spokesman later echoed this statement, declaring, “Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the eighth amendment.”

I can only see the decision on the part of both companies as a good thing here, as it should allow the democratic process to proceed without hindrance from outside parties on the platforms. Given how social media has long been credited with the creation of ‘echo chambers’ or ‘social media bubbles’ which limit our access to more diverse sources of information and differing opinions, this should help make the online world more of a level playing field and thereby allow for a fairer process. The bubble still exists of course as this phenomenon is fuelled by far more than ads, but at least your attention can no longer be bought in the hope of securing your vote.

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