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Google's ad ban gives us publicity, says Save the 8th

12 May 2018

On Tuesday, Facebook started to block ads relating to the referendum that did not originate from advertisers inside Ireland.

Google went one step further and said it would not accept any ads related to the referendum, not just those from groups or individuals seeking to sway the vote.

Google is suspending adverts related to a referendum in Ireland on whether or not to overturn a constitutional clause banning abortion.

Several prominent pro-life groups held a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a decision made by Google this week that all ads related to the forthcoming abortion referendum will be henceforth banned from the website.

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Web searches will not be affected by the ban on referendum campaign advertisements.

In National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote that although Google's decision may seem neutral, it will likely do more damage to the pro-life campaign.

" ... one side in this referendum is terrified of losing and wants to prevent voters from being informed", the Irish pro-life groups Save the 8, the Pro-Life Campaign and the Iona Institute said in response.

The "pause" will include adverts on YouTube and Google AdWords and will take effect within 24 hours, but it will not affect Google search results.

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Ireland bars political donations from overseas, but the law does not apply to social media advertising.

"It's a step in the right direction, but it's an bad pity we couldn't have done this six months ago", said Lawless, who has introduced a bill to Ireland's parliament that would require all online advertisers to disclose the publishers and sponsors behind ads.

If Irish people vote to repeal it, laws allowing the termination of pregnancies up to 12 weeks will be permissible. Now in Ireland abortion only happens in extreme situations.

Yesterday, the transparency campaigner Gavin Sheridan tweeted that it was now his view that the No side would win the campaign because its online spending was dwarfing that of the Yes campaign. It is a welcome development to have two preeminent internet companies not only say they care about fair and free votes, but also show it.

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Google's ad ban gives us publicity, says Save the 8th