In May, Ireland will hold a referendum on whether or not to repeal the 8th amendment of the Constitution, a provision that currently restricts access to abortion.
The Transparent Referendum Initiative (TRI) is a group of volunteers who believe that the referendum process should allow for a open, truthful and respectful debate.
We are taking action to increase the transparency of paid, online advertising during the referendum campaign.
Social media ads can be highly targeted based on a person's location, demographics and interests, and can influence voter behaviour. Yet at the moment they are invisible to everyone except the recipient, the platform, and the person who pays.
This makes it difficult for journalists, campaigns and regulators to carry out the important work of making sure referendums are fair: fact-checking, countering misinformation and identifying where campaign financing laws are being contravened.
As a group we will not take a position on the debate, but rather are working to identify ways to bring these ads out into the open.
We know that the platforms care about fixing this issue, we are hoping they make available in Ireland transparency tools being developing for the 2018 US elections. If this isn't possible, we will launch crowdsourcing tools at the end of February.
If you have an interest in getting involved let us know: