Eighth Amendment ads: Facebook acts, but how will it work?

Eighth Amendment ads: Facebook acts, but how will it work?

Eighth Amendment ads: Facebook acts, but how will it work?

Facebook on Tuesday said it would stop accepting advertisements related to an upcoming referendum on abortion in Ireland from groups based outside of the country.

It is the latest move by Facebook to boost the transparency of its political advertising with the social media giant under scrutiny for its role in Britain's Brexit referendum and the 2016 USA presidential election.

"We do not intend to block campaigns and advocacy organisations in Ireland from using service providers outside of Ireland", the company said in a statement on its website.

The social media giant said organisations outside of Ireland had been buying ads to influence the outcome of the vote.

Independent efforts to track Facebook ads found that most of the promoted material from outside of Ireland urges voters to retain the constitution's eighth amendment, which gives mother and the unborn an equal right to life.

Facebook said the move was in line with the company's strategy aimed at increasing transparency during political campaigns.

Facebook will then investigate and assess the ads. Its campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth said: "We view this as a clear recognition by Facebook that external forces with vast resources can have disproportionate yet impactful influence in political campaigns".

Facebook has previously committed to introduce such tools, but says they are not yet ready in time for the Eighth Amendment referendum.

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

Users are now able to see all of the content originating from the Facebook account behind those posts, rather than just the ads or stories targeted at them. However, the advocacy groups on both sides of the issue have a direct line to Facebook for this very goal.

In a new video series launched by Together For Yes today, Dr Rhona Mahony states that the 8th amendment means Ireland is "playing medical roulette with women's lives".

Facebook Ireland is a member of Media Literacy Ireland and supportive of its aim of empowering people in Ireland with the skills and knowledge to engage with and understand traditional and new media.

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