Facebook To Reject Foreign Ads On Eighth Amendment

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"Today [8 May], as part of our efforts to help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from undue influence, we will begin rejecting ads related to the referendum if they are being run by advertisers based outside of Ireland". Specifically, the Eighth Amendment reads: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right".

Facebook made the announcement after concerns were raised about organisations based outside Ireland who were trying to influence the outcome of the referendum by buying ads.

Though some supported U2's stance on the issue, many pro-life fans said they were "disappointed" with the band.

Concerns had been raised about worldwide organisations trying to influence the outcome of the upcoming abortion referendum by buying ads on Facebook.

The company will soon start requiring political advertisers to be residents in the country where the election is taking place.

As part of the process, Ireland has also became the first country outside the U.S. to receive a set of advertiser-transparency tools Facebook promised in early in April.

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The move is a long time coming for some as Facebook has been criticised for its impact on the USA presidential election in 2016, and there have been questions raised about it influence over the UK's Brexit vote.

However the company said "we do not intend to block campaigns and advocacy organisations in Ireland from using service providers outside of Ireland". It added: "We will then assess and act on those reports". Ireland is the first country where Facebook has implemented the rule. Machine learning will also be used in this effort.

"We are an open platform for people to express ideas and views on both sides of a debate", Facebook said in a statement.

Campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth said: "Facebook is the modern-day billboard, and until today, external campaigners had free rein to interfere with and manipulate the conversation Ireland is having around removing the 8th amendment from our Constitution".

We are deploying Election Integrity Artificial Intelligence for the referendum, similar to what was established in advance of recent elections in France, Germany and Italy.

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