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To Protect Election Integrity, Google Suspends Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Related Advertisement

Karin von Abrams, a London-based analyst with the research firm eMarketer, said banning ads represented a short-term safeguard from potential backlash and reputational damage.

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Google takes steps against Ireland's Abortion Referendum, Wikimedia Commons
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Google is suspending all advertising connected to Ireland’s abortion referendum as part of moves to protect “election integrity,” the company announced Wednesday.

The move came a day after Facebook banned foreign-backed ads in the Irish campaign, amid global concerns about online election meddling and the role of internet ads in swaying voters.

Google said that starting Thursday, it would no longer display ads related to the May 25 vote on whether to repeal Ireland’s constitutional ban on most abortions.

The prohibition on ads connected to the Irish vote applies to both Google and YouTube, which the company owns.

The online search leader, which is based in Mountain View, California, declined to say how much advertising revenue it was giving up because of the decision.

Russian role

Google said that starting Thursday, it would no longer display ads related to the May 25 vote on whether to repeal Ireland's constitutional ban on most abortions.
Google suspends Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Ads, VOA

The role of online ads in elections is under scrutiny following revelations that Russian groups bought ads on leading services such as Google and Facebook to try to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Many of the ads were designed to sow confusion, anger and discord among Americans through messages on hot-button topics.

Karin von Abrams, a London-based analyst with the research firm eMarketer, said banning ads represented a short-term safeguard from potential backlash and reputational damage.

“They won’t want to forgo election-related revenues in the longer term, but they do need to get their houses in order, rather than risk further troubles at this stage,” von Abrams said in an email Wednesday.

Google’s statement followed Facebook’s decision Tuesday to ban foreign advertisements around the abortion referendum, which has drawn worries about the influence of North American groups.

Both Google and Facebook are working on measures to improve transparency before November’s U.S. midterm elections, including tools to show the home country of advertisers.

Ireland bars political donations from abroad, but the law has not been applied to social media advertising. Anti-abortion groups based in the United States are among the organizations that have bought online ads in Ireland during the referendum campaign.

’11th hour’ effort

Irish lawmaker James Lawless, technology spokesman for the opposition Fianna Fail party, welcomed the moves by Google and Facebook, but said “they are rushed and they are coming at the 11th hour,” with just two weeks until voting day.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s an awful pity we couldn’t have done this six months ago,” said Lawless, who has introduced a bill to Ireland’s parliament that would require all online advertisers to disclose the publishers and sponsors behind ads.

Largely Catholic Ireland has Europe’s strictest restrictions on abortion, which is legal only when a woman’s life is in danger. Several thousand Irish women travel each year to get abortions in neighboring Britain.

Also Read: Lenovo Launches V-Series Laptop in India

Voters are being asked whether they want to retain the constitutional ban or repeal it and make parliament responsible for creating abortion laws.

Lawless said he had concerns about some of the online advertising from both sides in the referendum campaign.

“Some quite disingenuous ads have been going around in recent weeks targeting people who are in the middle that aren’t always from who they seem to be from,” he said.

“What we really need is legislation and we need a proper, robust, thought-out approach” to the problem, he said.

 

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Uruguayan Teenager Finds Security Flaw, Rewarded By Google

Google just awarded the Uruguayan teenager $36,337 for finding a vulnerability that would have allowed him to make changes to internal company systems, CNBC reported on Saturday

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Although, Pereira found the bug earlier this year, he only just got permission to write about how he discovered it this week. Pixabay

Google has rewarded a Uruguayan teenager a “bug bounty” of more than $36,000 for disclosing a severe security flaw.

Ezequiel Pereira’s sporadic poking around has finally paid off in a big way: Google just awarded the Uruguayan teenager $36,337 for finding a vulnerability that would have allowed him to make changes to internal company systems, CNBC reported on Saturday.

“I found something almost immediately that was worth $500 and it just felt so amazing. So I decided to just keep trying ever since then,” Pereira was quoted as saying by CNBC.

google
Ezequiel Pereira’s sporadic poking around has finally paid off in a big way. Pixabay

“It feels really good – I’m glad that I found something that was so important,” he added.

Although, Pereira found the bug earlier this year, he only just got permission to write about how he discovered it this week, after Google confirmed that it had fixed the issue, the report said.

It marks Pereira’s fifth accepted bug, but it’s by far his most lucrative.

Pereira was about a month shy of 17 when he first got paid for exposing a Google security flaw through its bug bounty programme.

Read More: Ex-Google Chief: Elon Musk ‘exactly wrong’ on AI  

Pereira got his first computer when he was 10, took an initial programming class when he was 11 and then spent years teaching himself different coding languages and techniques.

In 2016, Google flew him to its California headquarters after he won a coding contest. (IANS)