Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook have stopped accepting ads from groups outside of Ireland related to the forthcoming abortion referendum.
The move comes amid growing concern from politicians and activist including the country’s 39-year-old pro-abortion Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, about outside influence ahead of the vote on repealing Ireland’s abortion ban. On May 25th, Irish citizen will vote to repeal the country’s 1983 constitutional amendment recognising “the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.”
The Search giant announced May 9 that it would ban all ads from ads from its search engine and the YouTube video sharing website. The move follows an earlier announcement by Facebook that it would only allow adverts relating to the referendum to be bought by organisations located within the Republic of Ireland. Google and Facebook's actions, unsurprisingly were widely welcomed by the pro-abortionist camp. Conversely, pro-life campaigners were sharply critical of the decision alleging a combined conspiracy by the Irish Labour government, pro-abortion groups and the left inclined tech giants. The enthusiastic welcome for the decision from pro-choice groups “says it all,” they said.
“Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment,” a Google spokesperson told The Guardian.
However, John McGuirk, communications director for Save the Eighth, disagrees and has accused the tech majors of trying to rig the referendum. “Online was the only platform available to the ‘no’ campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined, in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side,” McGuirk said.
Analysts say the powerful pro-abortion lobby was behind the move to influence the tech giants to stop accepting ads as they feared, the recent 10 percent swing against repeal has boosted pro-life advocates in the final weeks of the campaign. Independent observers have also criticised the actions of the tech majors for clearly putting the ‘no’ side at a big disadvantage. They argue that the pro-life camp are being silenced and there’s a total blackout for “as a result of being left out of the debate by the mainstream media.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Denis Brennan of the Diocese of Ferns said the move of the Irish leftist government “will strip the voiceless of their most fundamental right and make all talk of any other human rights irrelevant for them.”