Facebook to publish data on adverts used during Eighth Amendment referendum

It will also provide details of proposed adverts and spending it rejected

Facebook to publish data on adverts used during Eighth Amendment referendum

Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin | Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

Facebook is to publish data on political advertising used during the Eighth Amendment referendum campaign.

According to reports, the social media company will provide anonymised details of the amount spent on targeting Irish voters between March 1st and May 25th.

It will also reveal the number of referendum-linked ads that had been purchased, and provide details of proposed adverts and spending it rejected after bringing in a ban on advertisers based outside of Ireland.

Back in May, the firm announced it was rejecting ads related to the referendum if they were being run by advertisers based outside the country.

"The additional election integrity tools we are building include a verification process that requires the advertiser to be resident in the country where the election is taking place", it said at the time.

"We feel the spirit of this approach is also consistent with Irish electoral law that prohibits campaigns from accepting foreign donations."

This change was applied to ads determined to be coming from foreign entities attempting to influence the outcome of the vote.

A day later, Google announced it was banning all adverts relating to the debate.

A spokesperson for Google 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."

The company said this was part of its broader efforts around election integrity globally.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said Facebook's move sets "an important international precedent."

He has called for search giant Google to do the same.

"We need to know what happened online during the referendum camaign.

"Half-way through it Facebook and then Google pulled foreign adverts - and then all adverts in Google's case.

"We want to know was that because there was a wall of money coming in, or was it similar to what happened in the Brexit or Trump election - where you had a huge amount of foreign money, hidden money trying to affect a campaign".