Google also found evidence of Russian influence in United States election

Bill Rogers
October 10, 2017

"Google is conducting a broad internal investigation to determine whether Russian-linked entities used its ads or services to try to manipulate voters ahead of the U.S. election", media reports said.

Google has downplayed the possibility of Russian influence on its platforms, but launched a probe into the matter, according to the Post. From these Twitter accounts, Google found links to ad purchases using its services. "We are sure that as Google looks deeper it will find that the Russians did worse than they are reporting and when you add that to what we know happened at Facebook and Twitter, you begin to understand the scope of their influence on the 2016 presidential elections", a national security expert told The Liberal Advocate News Monday.

The Washington Post was the first to report Google's discovery. "In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads", Facebook said. Facebook has received the most attention for the Russian-backed ads, and has promised to give the government 3,000 of them for study, now taking the threat to its platform and Democracy itself that they represent much more seriously.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw an unprecedented cyber campaign to meddle in the election, with the apparent aim of promoting Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Google has not yet said whether it has accepted an invitation to do the same.

The total ad spend by "Russian agents" identified was reportedly less than $100,000, and it's unclear whether some came from "legitimate Russian accounts".

Google declined to provide a comment for this story.

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Google is the world's largest online advertisement platform.

The ads infiltrated Google, Gmail, YouTube and DoubleClick, Google's advertising network.

The vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, has said he thinks Russian-linked accounts' purchase of $100,000 worth of Facebook ads is only "the tip of the iceberg".

Though the videos were only viewed hundreds of times, they demonstrated for the first time that Russian Federation allegedly deployed real people, not just fake online accounts or bots, to further spread propaganda. Just last month, Twitter informed congressional investigators that it found around 200 accounts with ties to Russian propaganda dissemination.

The disclosures have brought heightened scrutiny around the company's ad practices, and Facebook has already announced changes.

Google has been called to testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on November 1.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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