Google Follows Facebook In Banning Ads Before Referendum

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Google is to suspend all advertisements related to Ireland's May 25 abortion referendum from Thursday amid worries about election integrity, the US firm said in an emailed statement.

He said a number of No groups had earmarked significant spending on the platform ahead of the referendum on 25 May to reach voters, and that it was a legitimate means of doing so.

The changes will not impact on content or search results that are returned by Google searches.

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US -based pro-life groups are among those who have bought online ads in the country ahead of the vote, ABC reports.

This latest move will bring to €1bn the amount of money invested by Google in Ireland since 2003. Facebook has plenty of motive to try and prevent foreign actors from buying politically charged ads.

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Google will begin enforcing the measure, which will apply to all its platforms including the phenomenally popular YouTube video channel, on Thursday and continue until the May 25 ballot, according to the spokesman.

Despite this there have been repeated concerns about how the social network's paid advertising product has been used during the election campaign, prompting the Irish government to consider a new law forcing internet companies to reveal who is paying for online political adverts.

All relevant ads will now be banned over the next 24 hours and will remain so for the duration of the campaign on Google and YouTube.

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The news comes amid increasing focus on how online ads were used in campaigns like the Brexit referendum or the 2016 United States election. Depending on what you search online, advertisers can select terms that make their ads appear when you search that term. Groups supporting the "Repeal The Eighth" movement, such as the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, have sought to highlight how thousands of Irish women a year are forced to leave the country, simply in order to get access to safe abortion services.

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