Google 'uncovers Russian ad campaign linked to USA election'

Google, Facebook and fake news

Trump campaign's embrace of Facebook shows company's growing reach in elections

Microsoft Corp said separately on Monday that it was looking at whether Russians bought US election ads on its Bing search engine or other Microsoft-owned products and platforms. Facebook's ads were turned over to the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee. It said it will investigate how Russian operatives could have used its platform and how to prevent similar behaviour in the future.

"In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads", Facebook said.

A recent example comes by way of The Daily Beast, which reported on Sunday that Russian Federation "recruited" two black YouTubers to spread anti-Clinton propaganda aimed at linking her to racism.

United States intelligence agencies concluded earlier this year that Russian Federation had tried to sway the election in favour of Donald Trump.

It's Google's turn to face the idea that Russian Federation may have exploited their advertisement business to spread disinformation over the past year. According to people who claim to be familiar with the investigation, evidence has been found that Russian operatives did indeed use the advertising platform to spread disinformation.

Sources from within Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, told the Washington Post and Reuters news agency that it was investigating attempts by Kremlin affiliates to abuse its systems and spread disinformation.

It said that $100,000 was spent on about 3,000 ads over a two-year period, ending in May 2017.

Russia's ad purchases on Google were first reported by the Washington Post.

Noteworthy is the fact that there doesn't seem to be much overlap between the shadowy troll farms that bought ads through Google and the ones that took advantage of Facebook, which begs the question: How big is this problem, really? Google has not yet confirmed whether it will send anyone to testify. It's not clear how many ads there were or how many times they were clicked on. Twitter also admitted that the Kremlin-linked news site RT spent $274,100 on its platform in 2016.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have all agreed to testify at public hearings before the Senate and House intelligence committees on November 1, company sources told CNN. This was done without the explicit cooperation of corporations, Google used access to Twitter data since 2006. However, according to the Post, the search giant, who downplayed any such possibility on its platforms before, has now initiated an investigation into the matter. Google has yet to confirm whether it will also give evidence at the hearing.

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