Facebook to ban all foreign ads relating to abortion referendum


The vote has drawn worldwide attention and last month Helen Dixon, the Irish data protection commissioner, said it was possible that foreign actors could try to tilt the outcome.

"This is an issue we have been thinking about for some time".

It is the latest move by Facebook to boost the transparency of its political advertising with the social media giant under scrutiny for its role in Britain's Brexit referendum and the 2016 USA presidential election.

The Belfast Telegraph has contacted Facebook to clarify if the ban will apply to ads from people in Northern Ireland but have yet to receive a response.

"We have already begun to roll out the first of our ads transparency tools in Ireland".

"Our corporation approach would be to build resources to improve visibility across political advertising so individuals understand who is paying to the ads they are seeing, and also to ensure some company running a political ad is located in the country", face-book said within an blog post symbolizing the Irish decision.

The move is a long time coming for some as Facebook has been criticised for its impact on the U.S. presidential election in 2016, and there have been questions raised about it influence over the UK's Brexit vote. Machine learning will also be used in this effort.

The firm added that it meant to provide an open platform "for people to express ideas and views on both sides of a debate".

In a bid to gain confidence, Facebook launched a pilot of its "View Ads" tool in Ireland last month.

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.

Facebook has previously committed to introduce such tools, but says they are not yet ready in time for the Eighth Amendment referendum. Those efforts will direct our artificial intelligence capabilities to identify fake accounts, misinformation, or foreign interference.

The change comes into force today (Tuesday), and advocacy groups on both sides of the campaign were consulted on the proposal. This also includes the ability to evaluate certain photo and video content. Stories rated as false by TheJournal.ie will see their distribution significantly reduced.

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