The Green Party have welcomed a pledge by Google to make political advertising more transparent following calls for closer scrutiny of the sector in the wake of the 8th Amendment Referendum.
Google have committed to introduce policies and tools to support greater transparency in political advertising for the 2019 European Parliament elections, and subsequently for national elections and referendums in EU member states. This will include verification of advertisers, a new public transparency report, and a searchable ad library to provide more information about who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to, and how much money is being spent.
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD: “We welcome the fact that Google are going to provide aggregated data on the level of their online advertising sales during the Repeal Referendum Campaign. It is totally unacceptable that there has been no proper regulation of online political advertising, so we have to follow this route of trying to provide some transparency after the campaign has taken place.
“I will be attending an inter-parliamentary meeting in Westminster tomorrow to debate the issue of transparency in online political advertising. The House of Commons is looking for similar accountability with regard to their Brexit referendum campaign. What is happening in Ireland can provide a useful precedent for how such retrospective transparency on the volume of online advertising spending during a referendum can be achieved.
“We have an obligation in the political system that no future election can be influenced by unknown funding sources, operating in a secret way. This is one of the most important issues in the regulation of social media companies. We have an obligation and opportunity in this country to get such regulations right. Capturing what happened in our referendum is a small step in the right direction.”
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