Facebook to block foreign spending on Irish abortion vote ads


Facebook is blocking all foreign spending on advertising around Ireland’s upcoming referendum on abortion in an effort to adhere to the “principles” of the country’s election spending laws. With just over two weeks to go until the 25 May vote on liberalising Ireland’s strict abortion laws, Facebook announced it would restrict advertising to organisations and people based in the Republic. The move follows accusations that attempts have been made to swing votes across the world through foreign-funded campaigns and so-called astroturfing.

“This is an issue we have been thinking about for some time,” 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.”

As part of the process, Ireland has also became the first country outside the US to receive a set of advertiser-transparency tools Facebook promised in early in April. “Our 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 company said.(theguardian)…[+]