Hot Press magazine challenges Mark Zuckerberg about abortion referendum advertising

Hot Press magazine challenges Mark Zuckerberg about abortion referendum advertising

In an editorial in the new issue of Hot Press magazine, editor Niall Stokes has called on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to provide reassurances that the campaigning in the upcoming abortion referendum will not be affected by misleading advertising.

The editorial, which includes an open letter to Zuckerberg, puts a number of questions to the head of Facebook about how the social media site will conduct itself, especially in relation to advertising, between now and the May 25th polling day.

“Can you tell Irish Facebook users,” Niall Stokes asks of the Facebook founder, “what you intend to do to ensure two crucial things: (i) that Facebook cannot and will not be used as a means for dangerous outside forces, of whatever kind, to subvert the democratic process here; and (ii) that no ads purchased from outside the Irish democratic arena will be allowed in relation to the referendum on abortion, in order to ensure that Ireland is not effectively gamed by sinister, unaccountable forces outside the jurisdiction?”

The Hot Press editor suggests that the best response might be for Facebook to refuse all advertising relating to the referendum.

“As you know, Mark, it should be easy to ensure that deceitful under-the-radar advertising is prevented,” Stokes writes. “The old adage applies: ‘Follow the money’. You know where it is coming from. You know the ads are being booked. You can insist on seeing every one before it is published. You know who is being targeted. You can prevent abuse.

“In fact you could unilaterally refuse to allow any advertising whatsoever about the abortion referendum. Given the extent to which your organisation has been shown to have facilitated black propaganda in the past, that is really what we think you should do," Stokes says.

Stokes asks: “Are you going to take the money, in the way that you did from Cambridge Analytica or their agents? Are you going to allow the democratic process in Ireland to be subverted, in the way that the US Presidential election was? And hr Brexit vote?".

A copy of Hot Press containing the article will be delivered to Facebook’s European HQ in Dublin this afternoon.

You can read the full editorial challenge to Mark Zuckerberg here: http://www.hotpress.com/Facebook/politics/themessage/Facebook-and-the-Repeal-Referendum-An-Open-Letter-to-Mark-Zuckerberg/21862621.html

- Digital Desk

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