Cross-Party Oireachtas Member demand increased transparency from Facebook

Cross-Party Letter To Facebook
Cross-Party Letter To Facebook

A Cross-party group of Senators and TDs wrote to Facebook Ireland to request that the social media platform roll-out their new transparency features in Ireland in advance of the referendum on the 8th amendment on May 25th.

Dear Mr. Lambe,

In light of the upcoming referendum on the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution, we are writing to request that Facebook immediately roll out its recently developed transparency features on political advertising.

Recent months have seen escalating revelations on the extent to which social media platforms such as Facebook have served to facilitate inappropriate intervention in the democratic process. It is clear that greatly strengthened legislative and regulatory oversight is needed and that is something we as legislators are committed to delivering. However, we note that Facebook has also committed to urgently revise and improve its own processes. At the US Senate hearing earlier this week Mr Zuckerberg stated that his priority for 2018 is to prevent interference in five national elections taking place this year. The forthcoming referendum in Ireland must be afforded equal priority. 

This referendum should not become another bad example of inappropriate intervention in the political process but should instead serve as an opportunity to pilot new and better standards.  It is imperative that Facebook guarantee transparency around any political advertisements targeted at Irish voters between now and May 25th, including transparency around the persons or organisations paying for the promotion of such content.

We look forward to your response and hope you will be able to deliver the assurances and accelerated action that we seek.

Yours Sincerely,

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins, Senator Colette Kelleher, Senator Lynn Ruane - Civil Engagement Group
Senator Grace O'Sullivan, Deputy Eamon Ryan - The Green Party
Deputy Catherine Murphy - Social Democrats

More Stories

Senator Higgins welcomes Minister’s change in position on COVID legislation after Senators protest “indefinite extensions” of emergency COVID measures

Following pressure during yesterday’s second stage debate and the tabling of amendments from Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane and Frances Black, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly told the Seanad today that he had “reflected overnight” and accepted the demands for a clear “endpoint” to the emergency legislation.

The Bill as published had allowed for what Senator Higgins described as “indefinite extension of emergency powers by simple resolution with no requirement for legislative scrutiny and no ultimate end date”.