Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook banned pro-life ads during Irish abortion vote
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Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook banned pro-life ads during Irish abortion vote

FACEBOOK CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that his company deliberately banned pro-life adverts from running on the social media site during the abortions referendum in Ireland last year.

Zuckerberg was speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival when he said that Facebook had sought to prevent American groups from influencing the Irish public during the 2018 vote.

“In Ireland in the last year there was a referendum on abortion,” he said.

“During that election leading up to that referendum, a bunch of pro-life American groups advertised … to try and influence public opinion there.

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Zuckerberg was speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival

“We went to the Irish and asked folks there: ‘Well how do you want us to handle this? You have no laws on the books that are relevant for whether we should be allowing this kind of speech in your election, and really, this doesn’t feel like the kind of thing a private company should be making a decision on.’

“And their response at the time was: ‘We don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make’.

“We ended up not allowing the ads.”

The onus is currently on Facebook to decide how to manage these situations but Zuckerberg went on to stress that “different democracies around the world” should be looking to install laws which look to limit the amount of influence groups and companies can have by using sites like Facebook.

As relatively new forms of technology, few countries have laws and limits in place to manage how social media is used, particularly when influencing democratic processes, such as elections and referendums.

Facebook has been criticised in the past for being ‘selective’ in allowing certain groups to run their adverts and not others, but it seems until there are sufficient laws in place to manage these issues, can anyone really blame them?

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