We'll block all foreign ads on Eighth Amendment referendum - Facebook

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Facebook will no longer accept advertisements from outside Ireland related to the country's May 25 abortion referendum, the US firm said on Tuesday, in its latest move to boost the transparency of its political advertising.

The vote has drawn global 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 organizations 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", the company said in a statement.

The social media giant said yesterday that it would be putting a block on all advertisements relating to the referendum that come from outside of Ireland.

Facebook explained that the move was created to protect the integrity of elections and referendums from "undue influence".

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.

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"What we are now doing for the referendum on the Eighth Amendment will allow us to operate as though these tools, which are not yet fully available, were in place with respect to foreign referendum-related advertising", the company statement added. Facebook's advertising system has become a favorite of political groups because it is largely automated and makes it easy to target narrow segments of voters.

The referendum ads change comes following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The business has shifted its news-feed algorithm to deemphasize political news, and has appreciated thousands of moderators internationally to spot rumors and extremist articles.

The social media company launched a "view ads" tool on April 25 to allow users to view all of the ads being run by an advertiser.

He added: "We've seen preroll ads on YouTube, display ads on any number of sites, suggested results on Google linking to pro- or anti- pages, and it's not at all clear who is behind these".

As for who is paying for those ads, said Sheridan, "the only people who know that for certain are Facebook themselves".

In April, we hosted an information session for referendum campaign groups on Facebook's advertising and content policies.

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