Facebook will no longer be accepting ads related to the forthcoming referendum if they are from advertisers based outside of Ireland.
Facebook stated the ban will apply equally to both sides of the debate and that it has "built relationships with political parties, groups representing both sides of the campaign".
There are concerns that Facebook's ad network could be used by foreign groups to influence the result of the referendum on May 25th.
Ireland faces a historical referendum on May 25, posing the question of whether to liberalize one of the hardest regimes in Europe, second only to Poland.
Online advertising is not regulated for under Ireland's electoral laws.
"Facebook are always late to the party", said Gavin Sheridan, an Irish social media expert who has been following the digital side of the referendum campaign. The company also claimed it'd utilize synthetic intelligence technologies to spot maybe debatable materials. Part of that will require the advertiser to be resident in the country where the election is taking place.
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The announcement, which comes less than three weeks before Irish voters go to the polls, testifies to the depths of concerns that foreign advertising could skew the vote. The business has shifted its news-feed algorithm to deemphasize political news, and has appreciated thousands of moderators internationally to spot rumors and extremist articles. Facebook has some automated tools at its disposal that will help identify the ads and reject them.
Meanwhile a 2013 change in the law, which was not put to a referendum, allowed for the exemption of mothers whose lives are endangered. The page seemed designed, Sheridan said, to draw in undecided voters who would then be targeted with personalized ads for the campaign that seeks to maintain Ireland's conservative abortion laws.
Previously, Facebook launched a "view ads" feature in Ireland on 25 April, enabling users to see every ad that any advertiser is running on the platform in Ireland at the same time.
In April, we hosted an information session for referendum campaign groups on Facebook's advertising and content policies.
Facebook isn't going to let the clusterfuck of the 2016 US election debacle happen again.
Nor is it clear what proportion of the total amount spent on Facebook ads is made up of foreign-sourced ads of the type that are now banned by the social-media company.