IT&Software

Google Finds Ads Bought By Russians on Its Platforms

Google Finds Ads Bought By Russians on Its Platforms

Amid growing revelations that the companies that many Americans rely on as news sources were exploited by a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding the USA presidential election, there's a new report that "Russian agents" spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Google properties such as its search engine, YouTube, Gmail and more. Ads were apparently discovered on YouTube as well as search, Gmail and the DoubleClick ad network run by Google.

According to the Washington Post, Google has discovered evidence suggesting that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by purchasing ads on its platforms.

It's early days for Google, and it remains to be seen whether it will testify before USA congress on 1 Nov, along with Facebook and Twitter executives.

The company announced Thursday that company executives are talking with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

A content farm called the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia used these social networking platforms as a way to influence Americans during the Presidential election.

If Google has found a similar tactic employed on its own platforms, but from a totally separate source of ad-generators, it may hint at a Russian-backed scheme that's much more complex and widespread than many first thought. The company is looking at a set of ads that cost less than $100,000 in total, according to the report. But Google has declined to say if it plans to testify publicly before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which are leading the investigation and intend to hold two hearings on November 1.

Google did not comment on the report. Google reportedly uncovered its problem by searching through Twitter data. A source told the paper that the investigation is still ongoing and it is not yet clear whether the ads were all from trolls or whether some were from legitimate accounts. "In this part of our review, we found approximately $US50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2200 ads".

Twitter, meanwhile, has been shown to be a dense thicket of easily faked accounts and news items that allowed alleged Russian operatives to pump out politically divisive and anti-Clinton tweets.

The Trump campaign used the technology to "microtarget on a scale never seen before", according to Parscale, who also noted that he specifically requested Republican employees from these social media and digital companies to embed with the campaign.


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