Democracy for sale in social media’s Wild West

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

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 they...

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