London, England | May 8
Facebook announced Tuesday that it is banning foreign advertisements related to Ireland’s abortion referendum amid concerns that North American groups are trying to influence the campaign.
Irish voters will decide May 25 whether to repeal a constitutional ban on abortion, in a divisive referendum that has drawn international attention.
Ireland bars political donations from abroad, but the law does not apply to social media advertising. U.S.-based antiabortion groups are among those who have bought online ads in Ireland during the campaign.
Facebook says starting Tuesday it will “begin rejecting ads related to the referendum if they are being run by advertisers based outside of Ireland.”
“We understand the sensitivity of this campaign and will be working hard to ensure neutrality at all stages,” Facebook said in a statement. “Our goal is simple: to help ensure a free, fair and transparent vote on this important issue.”
Facebook has tried to improve its transparency after revelations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested users’ data.