Google ad ban delivers major blow to No campaign

Campaigners attend a rally organized by the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign ahead of the Irish abortion referendum

Campaigners attend a rally organized by the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign ahead of the Irish abortion referendum

The company have said that the move is part of its broader efforts around election integrity globally.

It means ads related to this month's abortion referendum will disappear from Google and YouTube over the next day.

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".

Now in Ireland, social media and internet companies are not banned from accepting ads from groups outside of the state, while campaign groups are not allowed to receive foreign funding.

A statement from all three campaign groups for a No vote rejected Google's explanation that the move was about "concerns about the integrity of elections".

Pro-choice groups say it creates a level playing field, but pro-life groups say it's an attempt to "rig the referendum".

Lawless said he had concerns about some of the online advertising from both sides in the referendum campaign.

"Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have made a decision to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment", said a Google spokesperson.

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

At a joint press conference on Wednesday, No campaigners said that the move was taken out of fear the No side might win.


"It is very clear that the Government, much of the establishment media, and corporate Ireland have determined that anything that needs to be done to secure a Yes vote, must be done".

Speaking today following Google's announcement, Mr McGuirk said: "There's a reason Together For Yes are celebrating today, and sending out celebratory tweets, and that's because they see this as a massive victory for their side of the referendum".

"It's a step in the right direction, but it's an terrible 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.

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