Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
IT | By Amos Hawkins

Google discovers Russian ads on its platforms during 2016 U.S. election

Google discovers Russian ads on its platforms during 2016 U.S. election

Altogether, this gave the Kremlin access to the largest online ad business and the largest video website in the world.

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

The Washington Post reported earlier that Google has found that Russian agents hoping to spread misinformation had spent tens of thousands of dollars on the company's advertising platforms.

Google's announcement that Russians may have used its platforms is significant because the advertisements reportedly originated from different entities, not the organization that had previously been widely reported, signaling that the Russians may have used different organizations in an attempt to hide the origin of the ads.

While Google didn't comment on the Post's story, its sources say that the company is investigating ad buys of less than $100,000 to see whether they came from trolls or Russian state actors.

Given that Google had previously said Russian influence was minimal on its platform, the new revelations raise a similar question: Was the company intentionally obscuring the facts in the hope that it didn't caught or, perhaps just as alarmingly, did it simply not understand what has happening?

To date, Google has mostly avoided the scrutiny that has fallen on its rival Facebook.

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It said the subject of the ads included immigration issues, gun rights and LGBT topics. One research group believes that the election influence of Russian groups on Twitter, Facebook and other networks has actually been massively underreported.

Interestingly, Google discovered the Russian Federation ad buys by using Twitter.

The content of the ads that flowed through Google was not clear.

Facebook announced last month it had unearthed $100,000 in spending by the Internet Research Agency and, under pressure from lawmakers, has pledged to be more transparent about how its ads are purchased and targeted.

The links were discovered by analysing Twitter data, reports the Post.

For just the first time Google has uncovered evidence that operatives from Russian Federation exploited the platforms of the Internet giant in an attempt to interfere with the US election in 2016, according to those familiar with the investigation the company carried out. RT also has a sizable presence on YouTube. Even so, the technology behemoth agreed to testify before the Senate in late September alongside representatives from Facebook and Twitter.

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