Democracy for sale in social media’s Wild West

Almost everyone on Facebook is being targeted by ads in the run-up to the referendum. Many are spreading ‘fake news’ and paid for by groups not based in Ireland, or groups about which nothing at all is known

6th May, 2018
An all-seeing eye: Facebook is being urged to suspend the sale of political ads until it can give full transparency Picture: PA

Supporters of Dublin GAA are being targeted for anti- abortion ads on Facebook, while those who like Brown Thomas are being targeted with ads to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

A sample of almost 600 Irish Facebook users has found nearly 500 ad campaigns running in their feeds relating to the forthcoming referendum – including a number from outside the country.

In many cases, users will not be aware that what they are viewing is paid advertising, as...

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