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The changes will come into effect over the next 24 hours, and the ads will remain suspended until the vote on May 25th.

Concerns had been raised about the unregulated nature of online advertising and how people can be targeted in the context of the upcoming vote.

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.

"Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have chose to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment", Google stated Wednesday, according to BBC News.

The referendum is one of the first big elections held since the Cambridge Analytica scandal forced Facebook to answer questions from politicians around the world about its activities and the impact of targeted advertising for political ends. "In this case, it means preventing campaigns that have done nothing illegal from campaigning in a perfectly legal manner".

Although Irish law bans foreign donations to political campaigns, there had been concerns that overseas campaigners were still able to spend potentially unlimited sums buying adverts targeting Irish voters.

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The prohibition on ads connected to the Irish vote applies to both Google and YouTube, which the company owns. Google was also challenged to substantiate its statement about the integrity of the vote.

Maria Steen claims 50% of no posters have been taken down illegally.

The move comes as part of efforts to improve "election integrity" in the run-up to the Eighth Amendment poll.

However, the Pro-Life Campaign, the Save the 8th group and the Iona Institute criticised the decision which they said amounted to Google "shutting down a free and fair debate".

Advertising with Google is distributed on millions of websites, including YouTube. Depending on what you search online, advertisers can select terms that make their ads appear when you search that term.

Communications Director from the Save the 8th campaign, John McGuirk, who welcomed Facebook's decision to ban referendum content, announced at the press conference that he believes Google's announcement was made "in the face of a sustained campaign from the "Yes" side to suggest that the "No" campaign is doing something wrong by investing its funding in online advertising". However, it will still allow referendum-related ads that are paid for by organisations within Ireland.