Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has welcomed today’s announcement by Google that it is to follow the lead of Facebook and restrict referendum advertisements.

Deputy Murphy said:

“While I welcome today’s announcement by Google and yesterday’s similar move by Facebook, we cannot leave the fate of our democratic decision making to the good intentions of international companies.

“The fact is that the online world is a rules-free zone for foreign interests who have been spending vast sums of money trying to influence voters ahead of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

“I commend the work of the Transparent Referendum Initiative and other campaigners who have been highlighting the dangers to our democracy from such covert and highly targeted digital advertising.

“The reality is that our campaign finance laws have not kept pace with digital advances and I am appalled by the lack of urgency shown by the Taoiseach and his government to address this issue in good time. It has been very clear for some time that action was required to protect our democracy from distortive influences – yet the government has sat on its hands.

“At this late stage, the very least we can expect is that all online platforms will now release information regarding who has bought or is buying advertisements and the associated content of those adverts.”

ENDS

8 May 2018