THE DUP is using Facebook adverts to target Catholic voters opposed to the liberalisation of the north’s abortion laws.
Metrics made available by the social media giant show that one of the party’s ads for the Westminster election is aimed at people “interested in gospel music and (the) Catholic Church”.
By tracking users’ browsing habits, Facebook is better able to identify the target audience for advertisers.
The ad in question, which has been viewed by up 20,000 people so far, is headed: ‘The DUP is a pro-life party. On December 12th vote for a party that chooses life.’
It features Upper Bann candidate Carla Lockhart, who says the DUP wants to see the repeal of abortion legislation recently introduced through Westminster.
The detailed Facebook metrics, which are only available to those targeted by political ads, also reveal that it is aimed at those over 18 and living in Northern Ireland.
Facebook has been forced to reveal the information after being criticised over the lack of transparency around political advertising.
The DUP, which paid £100 for the Facebook ad, is increasingly pitching for Catholics’ votes after both Sinn Féin and the SDLP modified their abortion policy.
Sinn Féin supports terminations up to 12 weeks, while the SDLP has moved to a position where abortion is a conscience matter which can be voted on at the elected representative’s discretion.
Last month Twitter imposed a ban all political advertising from its platform.
A DUP spokesman said the party’s anti-abortion stance had gained it support from “all sections” of the community, including many who may not have considered voting DUP in the past.
“Our 12-point plan for Northern Ireland includes proposals to maximise support for mothers and protection of the unborn child,” he said.
Facebook metrics show that one of the party’s ads for the Westminster election is aimed at people ‘interested in gospel music and (the) Catholic Church’