Google discovers Russian ads on its platforms during 2016 United States election

Google has found Russian ads related to 2016 election

Google has found Russian ads related to 2016 election

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Google has discovered that Russian agents spent some tens of thousands of dollars on Google products including Google search, Gmail, YouTube and DoubleClick ads in order to spread false information during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Washington Post reported Monday.

On Sunday's 60 Minutes, President Donald Trump's digital campaign manager, Brad Parscale, revealed that employees from Google, as well as Facebook and Twitter, embedded with the Trump campaign to teach campaign staff how to use the platforms to target voters. Google had previously said it had seen no evidence of Russian-bought election ads on its platforms.

Google nevertheless launched its own investigation, as Congress pressured tech companies to determine how operatives from Russian Federation used online advertising, social media and other tools to help influence the presidential election of 2016 and create discord across society in the U.S.

As of now, there have been no comments from Google or Alphabet on the development. According to Reuters, the Internet Research Agency hired hundreds of "trolls" to post pro-Kremlin content under fake social media accounts that posed to be American or European.

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Google to date has avoided for the most part scrutiny that has hit its biggest rival Facebook.

Other ads appear to have been aimed at fostering division in the United States by promoting anti-immigrant sentiment and racial animosity.

The company said it will not release the ads publicly.

You can read the Washington Post's report here.

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.

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Twitter has also said that it suspended 201 accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency.

Twitter, meanwhile, also "proactively" shared with Congress a "round-up of ads" that Russia's state-run TV network Russia Today (RT) targeted at US users in 2016.

Facebook has turned over 3,000 ads to a congressional committee looking into the 2016 election. "We are deepening our investigation of diversion attempts of our systems, and work with researchers and other companies, and give our assistance to the ongoing investigations", said Google.

Google officials are expected to testify in front of Congress on November 1 on the issue, along with representatives from Facebook and Twitter.

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