Google the Latest Tech Giant to Uncover Ads by Russian Operatives

Posted October 10, 2017

US intelligence agencies have previously concluded Moscow wanted to help elect Donald Trump and both Twitter and Facebook have found Russian operatives used their platform to buy ads and post content to influence the election.

"The discovery by Google is also significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook", the Post report said.

Google has downplayed the possibility of Russian influence on its platforms, but launched a probe into the matter, according to the Post.

The Washington Post noted that until now, Google has "mostly avoided the scrutiny" that's focused on Facebook, which recently provided Congressional investigators with about 3,000 Russian-bought ads. In the report, the Russian affiliated group that bought ads on Facebook, Inc. were different than the team that purchased ads on Google. Twitter and Google, the Post reports, "have not cooperated" in their investigations.

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The WP sources said that the investigation regarding the suspicious advertising is still ongoing.

Only last month Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told the paper that the internet giant is "always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we've seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms". Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee reaffirmed the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation attempted to influence the election.

On Monday, Reuters revealed that Russian operatives purchased advertisements to influence the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million US users that log onto the service each month. Later, Twitter also found that 200 accounts on its platforms were in some way linked to the profiles that Facebook flagged previously.

The U.S. Congress has opened multiple investigations to determine the level of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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But after launching a review, the company found around $100,000 (£76,000) in ad spending potentially linked to Russian sources, according to a source.

Executives from Twitter and Facebook have said they will testify before Congress on November 1 regarding Russia's attempts to sow dissent on the social media platforms.

About $150,000 worth of fake Facebook ads, capable of reaching more than 10 million users, touched on hot-button issues like race, immigration and gun control.

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