Have you been targetted by campaign adverts on social media?

The rise in manipulative anti-abortion advertisements on social media has been labelled as ‘Trump-style’ tactics ahead of the 8th amendment referendum.

A number of sponsored Facebook adverts have been targetting ‘undecided’ voters, displaying fake news reports and making claims about the effects of abortion on women.

Source: Facebook

Some ad campaigns have featured a fake RTE news report and video on abortions in Irish hospitals, which were promoted on Facebook. Managing Director of RTE News Jon Williams tweeted that he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by Facebook’s refusal to suspend the advertiser account. The religious pro-life page has since been shut down.

Another series of sponsored videos have been found targeting Irish profiles with claims linking terminations to cancer in women and in rats. A video on the same page claimed that abortions lead to suicide, depression and addiction in mothers.

The national Together for Yes campaign has likened the posts to the ‘Cambridge Analytica’ scandal.

Co-Director, Ailbhe Smyth said: “We are all aware of the huge impact that manipulative online and digital campaigns can have on voter sentiment, as was witnessed in the Brexit vote in 2016.

Ms Smyth added: “Both sides in this debate have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of all information that is used to support our respective cases. This responsibility includes social media activity, the credentials of experts and the veracity of facts presented across a range of media over the course of the next few weeks.”

“Together For Yes is urging people to check out the Referendum Commission website for objective, factual and truthful information on what the central question of this referendum is about. It is deeply concerning that private citizens’ data appears to be being captured in this way in a bid to manipulate undecided voters in the final few weeks of a critical campaign.”

For official, unbiased information on the 8th amendment referendum, visit www.refcom2018.refcom.ie

Donegal Woman welcomes updates and letters from all campaigns ahead of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment. To get in contact, email news@donegalwoman.ie