Facebook has removed the page on its platform for the Irish Tax Agency website from Paddy Cosgrave because of a violation of its identity counterfeiting policy.
The founder of Web Summit, Mr. Cosgrave, revealed Monday that he was involved in running the Irish Tax Agency page, which had anonymously targeted European Facebook users.
In a statement, a Facebook spokeswoman said: "we do not allow pages that are misleading or misleading on Facebook, therefore we have removed the Irish Tax Agency page for violating our policy against identity imitation".
The ads contain the tagline "reduce your taxes on worldwide income to 1 percent". Users are told that "companies have saved billions of taxes by moving to Ireland from EU countries with high taxes".
Initially there was no information online about the organization of the advertisements, neither on the Facebook page nor on the website. A contact number for the press service of the Department of Foreign Affairs was mentioned on the site.
Mr. Cosgrave revealed that he was behind the campaign in a post on his own Facebook page and on the website of the Irish Tax Agency.
Mr Cosgrave has strongly criticized the tax practices of the Irish state. In an online video, he claimed the advertisement representing the Irish & # 39; unsustainable tax structure & # 39; wants to emphasize, has reached a million Facebook users.
In response to e-mail inquiries about the problem of corporate tax avoidance and his use of the anonymous page, Mr. Cosgrave referred to a competition he launched.
"My money is currently on The Irish Times to win the € 1,000 prize for the Irish media organization that offers the best defense of unsustainable tax structures by stepping into the room next to the giant elephant," he said.
In addition to removing the page, it is understood Facebook recently refused advertisements from the Irish tax authorities due to what the social media company said was a non-functional landing page. The site of the Irish tax agency contains links to Wikipedia pages about three tax-efficient structures available under Irish law: the Irish Collective Asset Management Vehicle (Icav), the company Section 110 and the L-Qiaif.
Icavs, and in particular Section 110 companies, were popular with foreign investors who bought distressed loans acquired on Irish real estate during the recession. They were used to reduce the tax to nominal amounts of € 250. The L-Qiaif is a more recent structure, but according to Fianne Fáil, health spokesman Stephen Donnelly, it has many of the same benefits as the other structures, albeit with extra secrecy.
The advertisements were initially intended for users in ten European countries with Ireland on Monday.
One user in Brussels was the target because the Facebook algorithm suggested that they were interested in Fianna Fáil. Irish users who were in their twenties and had expressed an interest in Sinn Féin belonged to the target group.
Ads also ran on Instagram, the social network for photo sharing owned by Facebook.
It comes after IDA Ireland had paid a desk on the weekend to help prevent edits against the desk and the chief executive on Wikipedia. Asked about Mr. Cosgrave's campaign and the edits of Wikipedia, an IDA spokesperson said: "Ireland is talking about its reputation and digital platforms are a place where opinions are formed and reputations are established".
The Wikipedia user who was responsible for large parts of the edits on the IDA pages is an anonymous account named Britishfinance. According to the Wikipedia page, that user has made more than 40,000 edits since March last year, with a focus on Irish corporation tax and the Irish economy.
Britishfinance has also made a large number of edits to the Wikipedia articles on Irish corporate tax structures linked to the Irish Tax Agency webpage.
Mark Gorman, a partner of Anderson Tax in Dublin, says that the Irish tax system "is not perfect, but that many of the issues related to non-taxing Irish property income were addressed in 2016. The" issue "here is that funds generally do not pay taxes other than on certain types of income. This applies to Irish funds, Luxembourg funds and even UK funds. "