About TRI

 

The Transparent Referendum Initiative (TRI) is a volunteer-led, civic initiative that was established to advocate for increased transparency of digital advertising during electoral campaigns in Ireland.    

In the absence of any regulation on digital political campaigning, TRI set out to bring dark social media ads out in the open, to ensure that they are open and subject to scrutiny in the same way that traditional campaign materials are. Over the course of the campaign more than 500 volunteers from diverse backgrounds joined TRI to crowdsource a publicly available database of over 1,500 Facebook ads related to the 8th Amendment Referendum. Through organising hackathons, roundtables and expert briefings, TRI enabled journalists and others in Ireland and abroad to turn the data into meaningful stories for the wider public.

TRI had considerable success in meeting its initial goals. The Irish Government has added the issues of threats from social media ads to the national risk register, and has committed to reform in a cross-departmental report on election integrity. Facebook and Google took some steps to acknowledging their role, taking unprecedented steps of withdrawing or limiting their services in Ireland due to the lack of regulation of their product.

But longer term reform is going to require investment to develop creative solutions, and a more established initiative with the capacity to provide ongoing evidence and support to make those solution the reality in Ireland.

Volunteer Team

The TRI is run by volunteers and receives no external funding
Liz Carolan
Liz Carolan

Founder and transparency specialist

Craig Dwyer
Craig Dwyer

Founder and social media specialist

Peter Tanham
Peter Tanham

Founder and ad technology expert

Get in touch

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or drop us an email at: info@tref.ie