Google uncovered Russia-backed ads on YouTube, Gmail, source says

11 October, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Darren Santiago
  • Google discovered Russian-bought ads on YouTube and Gmail

Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company's platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the company's investigation. The media outlet claimed that tens of thousands of dollars had been spend on ads, however, no further details on "the Russian agents" or specific proof has been provided.

Last month Facebook shared with United States investigators 3,000 ads from the Kremlin-affiliated Internet Research Agency.

Microsoft Corp said separately on Oct 9 that it was looking at whether Russians bought U.S. election ads on its Bing search engine or other Microsoft-owned products and platforms.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have all agreed to testify at public hearings before the Senate and House intelligence committees on 1 November, said company sources.

On the other hand, Facebook found more than $100,000 were spent on such ads.

Google and Facebook are the biggest online advertising companies in the world, and they helped pioneer targeted advertising.

Congressional advisory groups have propelled different examinations concerning Russian impedance, however worry about Silicon Valley's part has surged over the previous month against the setting of a course of disclosures about how Russia seems to have utilized their stages to spread purposeful publicity.

Google's review had been more robust than ones undertaken so far by Facebook or Twitter, the source said.

(FB), the ads on Google touched on a variety of hot-button social topics, without a clear bent toward one candidate or political position, these people said.

Digital research expert Jonathan Albright said the latest revelations showed how skilled the Russians were at manipulating the tech giants. It also disclosed that the account for the news site RT, which the company linked to the Kremlin, spent $274,100 on its platform in 2016.

Google's admission comes just a week after Facebook, the world's largest social network, revealed that a Russian internet agency previous year purchased around 3,000 targeted advertisements aimed at influencing the presidential election, which saw Republican Donald Trump defeat his Democratic rival Hilary Clinton. Kremlin-backed trolls were already spreading misinformation via social media platforms.

"These ads are significant to our investigation as they help demonstrate how Russian Federation employed sophisticated measures to push disinformation and propaganda to millions of Americans online during the election, in order to sow discord and chaos, and divide us from one another", Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement last week. However, Twitter's analysis did not conclude whether RT's ad buys were related to attempts to influence the election.

Information for this article was contributed by Mark Bergen and Gerrit De Vynck of Bloomberg News.

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