Google to halt all ads on Irish abortion referendum

Google bans Irish abortion referendum adverts

Facebook's move is likely to be directly related to this fear: and a fear that if the referendum were defeated, the company would face questions about its role in influencing votes, as it has in the U.S. and UK.

In a statement, the groups said: "In this case, it means preventing campaigns that have done nothing illegal from campaigning in a perfectly legal matter". While some have welcomed the move as ensuring a fair debate, others see it as an attempt to rig a referendum that looks increasingly close.

Campaigners on both sides of the referendum argument have spoken out after Google had officially announced the ban on the ads in relation to the referendum.

Google will ban all advertisements relating to Republic of Ireland's forthcoming referendum on abortion, which takes place on 25 May.

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"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", a spokesperson said.

The referendum in Ireland will decide the fate of the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, which is one of the most restrictive prohibitions of abortion in the West.

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.

If the amendment is repealed, government leaders plan to push a proposal to legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and later in a broad range of circumstances.

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The move won't impact on content or search results that are returned by Google searches.

"Online was the only platform available to the No campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side", the pro-life groups said at a press conference.

There are very real concerns about outside political influence on Irish voters, but the clearest evidence points to underhanded dealings on the pro-abortion side.

Ireland does not allow political donations from overseas but that has not been applied to social media, something some United States groups, particularly anti-abortion groups, had taken advantage of to buy online ads.

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