Google, YouTube and Facebook banned adverts linked to Ireland’s abortion referendum and YouTube took down a pro-life channel.

Pro-life campaigner Dawn McAvoy says the social media lockdown on adverts favours the pro-abortion side in the Irish referendum

Although Google had banned all adverts related to the referendum, the move would have had a disproportionate effect on the pro-life side, which faces discrimination by traditional news media and so relies more on social networking.

Facebook also blocked all foreign ads relating to the vote.

Dawn McAvoy, Christian co-founder of Both Lives Matter, told Premier: “Pro-life campaigners… rely on digital media and social media because elements within the print and broadcast media are committed to a pro-choice agenda.”

A statement from the NO side, campaigning against abortion, said: “This decision by Google… is about concerns that the ‘no’ side might win. This campaign has been marked by attacks on every form of legitimate campaigning the NO side has taken part in, and a complete absence of scrutiny for the YES side… it is an attempt to rig the referendum.”

In addition, YouTube has banned pro-life channel Heartbeat International, labelling its content “harmful or dangerous”. The President of Heartbeat International said: “It’s hard to understand why YouTube would treat the rescuing of babies from an abortion pill the same as terrorism videos.”