Google Bans Pro-Life Ads Ahead of Irish Legal Abortion Vote


'The fact is that the online world is a rules-free zone for foreign interests who have been spending vast sums of money trying to influence voters ahead of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, ' she said.

"As a result of increased efforts to ensure fair elections worldwide, we have chose to suspend all advertisements related to the referendum on the Eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution", - said in a statement.

"Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have made a decision to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment", said a Google spokesperson.

Google is now showing a range of ads about the Irish referendum, which will take place on 25 May.

Both sides of the abortion debate have given different reactions to Google's decision to ban ads on the referendum.

It is unclear if Google will unpause the ads after the vote.

The company announced last week it would be rolling out a verification process for election adverts in the United States and pledged to look at a wider range of elections globally.

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Speaking on the same programme, TJ McIntyre, a law lecturer in UCD and chair of Digital Rights Alliance said the steps taken in the referendum by Google and Facebook could act as a blueprint for how they will behave internationally going forward.

Facebook and Google have strong biases against the pro-life argument.

This comes one day after Facebook has announced that they will not allow referendum ads from foreign sources on the site. US -based anti-abortion groups are among those who have bought online ads in Ireland during the campaign.

But at a press conference called by the pro-life campaign Save the 8th and the Iona Institute, campaigners claimed that the decision to ban ads on Google had been taken "because one side in this referendum is terrified of losing and wants to prevent voters from being informed".

A statement from all three campaign groups for a No vote rejected Google's explanation that the move was about "concerns about the integrity of elections".

There's no snail-mail postcard or show-us-your-papers requirement that can keep out divisive, non-political ads, unless platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter decide that transparency about inflammatory posts is part of protecting elections.

Meanwhile, abortion activists - who have benefited more heavily from the liberal news media and other avenues - applauded Google and Facebook for the move, according to National Review.