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Proof of Russian meddling in U.S. poll grows; Google, Microsoft to probe

12 October, 2017, 01:04 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.   Drew Angerer  Getty Images

Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Mike Conaway, R-Texas, comes as congressional investigators review thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russian Federation that sought to sow division among US voters ahead of the election.

"We take the trust of the Facebook community seriously", the ad reads. The source revealed that Google uncovered less than $100,000 in ad spending potentially linked to Russian operatives.

The revelation about Google, made by people familiar with an internal company investigation and first reported by The Washington Post, adds it to a growing list of iconic tech companies used by a disinformation operation that USA intelligences services have said was approved by the Kremlin.

Type in any search with "Russia" and "Facebook" and the result at the top of Google will be an ad from the social network.

Google has discovered Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on its YouTube, Gmail and Google Search products in an effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Google, the online giant and one of the world's largest advertising businesses, said it had "a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion".

The ads came through a different Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook and might be part of a wider Russian online disinformation effort.

Later on Monday, Microsoft said it was investigating whether it too had been targeted. The company also added that it would hire 1000 employees to review the ads.

The House Intelligence Committee is reportedly going to release the Facebook ads after congressional hearing with social media figures in November. "The extent of the Russian presence just continues to grow and grow, and I don't think we yet have any kind of full understanding of just how expansive this presence may have been".

Google has found evidence that Russian agents bought ads on its wide-ranging networks in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. The goal was to influence voting behaviour, in some cases by suppressing turnout.

Amid growing revelations that the companies which many Americans rely on as news sources were exploited by a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding the US 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.

In recent weeks, Facebook and Google admitted to accepting thousands of advertising dollars from Russian groups during the 2016 USA presidential campaign. Google has not found evidence that the accounts linked to Russian Federation used its political targeting tools, the people familiar with its investigation said.

Under fire for its response to Russian activity on its site before the presidential vote, Facebook last month agreed to hand over detailed information on thousands of Russian-backed ads to congressional investigators and said it would take steps to increase political transparency.

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