Google to halt all ads on Irish abortion referendum

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A spokeswoman for the pro-choice campaigning group "Together For Yes" welcomed the ban on Google Search and YouTube referendum ads.

Facebook has blocked foreign adverts that target voters in Ireland's upcoming abortion referendum.

"That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message from one side", said pro-life forces in a joint statement from Save The 8th, Pro-Life Campaign and The Iona Institute.

"Online was the only platform available to the No campaign to speak to voters directly".

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".

The move is a significant U-turn after the Telegraph quizzed the search giant on its advertising practices last week, when it stood by its decision to show Irish people the search engine result: "vote no to abortion on demand - do you know the facts" at the top when they type "eight amendment" into the search bar.

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. Avi Kelin, an associate at Genova Burns, also said that Facebook and other social media platforms have no legal obligation to remove or ban foreign political ads that don't explicitly endorse one side.

"There are no regulations in this area of online advertising, and I would prefer if we had more nuanced and detailed legislation".

Earlier this week, Google said it no longer will run ads related to the Irish abortion vote on its search site or YouTube.

Google said on Wednesday it will pause all adverts related to the Irish referendum on abortion to be held later this month - the day after Facebook announced a similar move. The company said: "Concerns have been raised about organisations 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".

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