Google bans abortion poll ads in Ireland

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The ban includes ads on the YouTube video platform, which is owned by Google.

Concerns had been raised about the unregulated nature of online advertising and how people can be targeted in the context of the upcoming vote.

The ban went into effect on Thursday morning.

Google is to suspend all advertisements related to Ireland's May 25 abortion referendum from Thursday amid worries about election integrity, the US firm said in an emailed statement.

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Furthermore, Facebook are only blocking ads posted and paid for by foreign individuals and organisations, not those placed by domestic groups and campaigners.

Meanwhile, Facebook said Tuesday it will block foreign adverts aimed at the Irish referendum, "as part of our efforts to help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from undue influence".

" ... one side in this referendum is terrified of losing and wants to prevent voters from being informed", the Irish pro-life groups Save the 8, the Pro-Life Campaign and the Iona Institute said in response.

The referendum is one of the first big elections held since the Cambridge Analytica scandal forced Facebook to answer questions from politicians around the world about its activities and the impact of targeted advertising for political ends.

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Independent News & Media, Ireland's largest digital media platform, says that it will allow digital ads from both campaigns provided that they are "factual" and are "not offensive".

The groups also claimed that at least half of its posters on the streets had been taken down in recent weeks, resulting in a heavy financial loss to the No side. Depending on what you search online, advertisers can select terms that make their ads appear when you search that term.

The electoral law of Ireland prohibits foreign organizations to Finance the electoral campaigns.

The news comes amid increasing focus on how online ads were used in campaigns like the Brexit referendum or the 2016 U.S. election.

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