Facebook to reject abortion referendum ads from outside Ireland
Facebook is no longer accepting referendum related ads from advertisers based outside of Ireland.
The vote has drawn worldwide attention and last month Helen Dixon, the Irish data protection commissioner, said it was possible that foreign actors could try to tilt the outcome.
"Concerns have been raised about organisations and individuals based outside of Ireland trying to influence the outcome of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland by buying ads on Facebook".
Ireland bars political donations from overseas, but the law does not apply to social media advertising.
Facebook has moved to block foreign advertisements relating to the upcoming Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
Most nations, including the usa, prohibit foreign groups from advertising in elections that are domestic, however regulating the spending is more hard with more political activity moving online.
Facebook stated the ban will apply equally to both sides of the debate and that it has "built relationships with political parties, groups representing both sides of the campaign". However, foreigners were until Tuesday able to purchase Facebook ads directly targeting Irish voters.
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"We welcome this announcement from Facebook and we'll work with them from now until May 25 to ensure no foreign ads are targeted at Irish voters on Facebook", Dwyer said.
The move is announced amid the scandal around Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica company, which cooperated with the social network.
It said that as part of these efforts, it is building tools that would require potential advertisers to verify that they are resident in the country where the election is taking place. It also indicated that it will implement the same rule for future elections in Ireland, disallowing any ads that do not come from registered entities in Ireland.
The May 25 referendum will decide whether abortion should be legalized in Ireland. It added: "We will then assess and act on those reports".
Facebook has already stepped up efforts to tackle fake news ahead of the vote, rolling out a new tool in Ireland to give users more information about political advertisements and sponsored posts in their news feeds.
The Transparent Referendum Initiative has been tracking online advertising around the vote.
Under Irish law, foreign citizens and groups are not allowed to make donations to Irish campaign groups.
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