Latest: Calls for Google and YouTube to follow Facebook's ban on foreign referendum ads

Update 4.17pm: There are calls for other social media companies to follow Facebook's lead and ban referendum ads from other countries.

The social media giant made the announcement today as they say they're committed to protecting the integrity of elections and referendums from "undue influence".

Earlier, the Green Party has welcomed the move and is now calling on Google to introduce similar restrictions on its YouTube platform.

Eamon Ryan

“We’re now calling on Google to introduce similar restrictions on its YouTube platform. Without coordinated action, there is a chance that foreign interference could continue unchecked, just on a different platform,” said their leader Eamon Ryan.

Labour has also praised the decision by Facebook to clamp down on foreign ads and says Google and YouTube should do the same to improve transparency in the run up to the referendum.

James Lawless, the Fianna Fail party's technology spokesman, claimed the measure was forced on Facebook by growing public and political pressure.

"People are beginning to recognise that murky political activity on social media is having a corrosive effect on our democratic process."

Original story (1.50pm): Facebook bans foreign ads for 8th amendment referendum

Facebook is no longer accepting referendum related ads from advertisers based outside of Ireland.

Concerns had been raised about international organisations trying to influence the outcome of the upcoming abortion referendum by buying ads on Facebook.

In a statement issued today, the social media giant 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.

"This change will apply to ads we determine to be coming from foreign entities which are attempting to influence the outcome of the vote on May 25.

We do not intend to block campaigns and advocacy organisations in Ireland from using service providers outside of Ireland.

"We have also built relationships with political parties, groups representing both sides of the campaign and with the Transparent Referendum Initiative, who we are asking to notify us if they have concerns about ad campaigns."

The Social Media giant today confirmed they want to help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from 'undue influence'.

They added: "We understand the sensitivity of this campaign and will be working hard to ensure neutrality at all stages.

"We are an open platform for people to express ideas and views on both sides of a debate.

Our goal is simple: to help ensure a free, fair and transparent vote on this important issue.

The independent Referendum Commission has urged people to register to vote ahead of today’s deadline to have a say in the May 25 referendum.

- Digital Desk


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