Google ad ban 'is an attempt to rig vote', claim No campaigners

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

Campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth said of the ban: "We welcome confirmation today from Google that they are going to stop running political advertisements over the next 24 hours".

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 USA and UK.

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".

The move follows a similar decision made by Facebook to counter foreign influence on the vote.

On the 25th of May 2018, the Irish abortion referendum will take place. Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, said that because Facebook Inc. and other social media platforms are private actors, they're free to ban ads from any source they choose, so long as their actions don't violate any federal anti-discrimination laws.

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Pro-choice groups say it creates a level playing field, but pro-life groups say it's an attempt to "rig the referendum".

"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 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.

Mr Lawless has been pushing for a law requiring all online advertisers to disclose the publishers and sponsors behind ads.

However this USA -first focus leaves other regions vulnerable to election fiddlers - hence Google deciding to suspend ad buys around the Irish vote, albeit tardily.

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