Government forum to consider regulation of online political advertising

Richard Bruton

The Communications Minister Richard Bruton says social media can sometimes be the playground of extremists.

Political parties are meeting today to discuss fake news and regulating online political advertising at an Open Policy Forum.

Today's forum will see representatives from industry, academia, political parties, the media, and civil society come together for the first Open Policy Forum on the regulation of online political advertising.

It was one of the recommendations of a Government report which looked at the risks to our electoral process.

Advertising in the political or electoral sphere and freedom of expression are some of the topics to be broached.

Just under €80,000 was spent advertising on Google during the Eighth amendment referendum campaign.

Figures released to Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, show the ads led to over 15 million impressions.

During the abortion referendum campaign Google banned all ads relating to the Eighth amendment while Facebook restricted them.

It was amid concers that false information claiming to be unbiased was being fed to the electorate.

Today's forum aims to find policy solutions that respect the right to freedom of expression as well as relevant EU law.

Communications Minister Richard Bruton says this is one of the negative aspects of social media.

"The normal rules of civility often seem to go out the window and they no longer seem to apply," said Minister Bruton.

"It can become the playground of extreme and highly motivated people who want to distort and present fake information for the consumption of people who are gullible enough to take it in."

Digital Desk

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