Facebook will restrict advertising of the referendum on abortion in Ireland

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The company will put a moratorium on all referendum-related advertising on its Google search pages as well as on YouTube in an effort to ensure advertising on its site doesn't tip the vote on the controversial topic.

Google is banning abortion-related advertising ahead of Ireland's referendum on the eighth amendment.

We've asked Google why it's only taken the decision to suspend referendum ad buys now, and why it did not act months earlier - given the Irish government announced its intention to hold a 2018 referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment in mid 2017 - and will update this post with any response.

Communications Director from the Save the 8th campaign, John McGuirk, who welcomed Facebook's decision to ban referendum content, announced at the press conference that he believes Google's announcement was made "in the face of a sustained campaign from the "Yes" side to suggest that the "No" campaign is doing something wrong by investing its funding in online advertising".

Facebook FB.O will no longer accept advertisements from outside Ireland related to the country's May 25 abortion referendum, the US firm said on Tuesday, in its latest move to boost the transparency of its political advertising.

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Last week, the company, which employs nearly 7,000 people in Ireland, said it would roll out a verification process for election ads in the United States and that it is also looking at political issue ads and a wider range of elections globally.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that Facebook had "made the right decision" to stop such advertising but that Google "has gone a bit further in not accepting advertisements altogether to do with the referendum".

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". "Perhaps it could have come sooner but it has come and therefore it is very welcome".

In a statement, the groups said: "In this case, it means preventing campaigns that have done nothing illegal from campaigning in a perfectly legal matter". However, it will still allow referendum-related ads that are paid for by organisations within Ireland. "It is about protecting the integrity of our referendum and political system".