Google Finds Ads Bought By Russians on Its Platforms

10 October, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Google uncovered Russia-backed ads on YouTube, Gmail, reports Washington Post

The ads appear not to be from the same Russian trolls from the Internet Research Agency that advertised on Facebook.

The Post reported that Google used data from Twitter to link Russian Twitter accounts with those who had purchased the Google ads.

Google refused to provide additional comments but experts believe that based on the provided information so far, the company believes Russians spent about $100,000 on its platforms during the election campaign. Google discovered potential Russian ads by linking Russian Twitter accounts to those used to purchase ads on its own services, reportedly without Twitter's permission.

Google's discovery is significant as well because the advertisements do not seem to be from the same farm of trolls affiliated with the Kremlin that bought Facebook ads, which is a sign that the effort in Russian Federation to spread online disinformation might be far broader of a problem than first thought by companies in Silicon Valley.

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This news comes as Facebook's security executive Alex Stamos responded to critics of the company's reaction to the fake news narrative. 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.

Meanwhile, Congress has initiated several investigations into the matter that Russian-bought ads were a planned attack to rig the election and sow discord in the United States. In September, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told The Washington Post that the company is "always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies".

Google operates the largest online business of advertising in the world, and YouTube is the largest video site online in the world.

Google has uncovered less than $100,000 in ad spending potentially linked to Russian actors, the source said.

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This is the first time Google has been reported to admit to evidence of this activity.

Facebook, which identified 470 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, has shared its findings with both Twitter and Google, sources at all three companies said.

The disclosures have brought heightened scrutiny around the company's ad practices, and Facebook has already announced changes. Just last month, Twitter informed congressional investigators that it found around 200 accounts with ties to Russian propaganda dissemination. The tech giants are scheduled for a double-header on November 1: They have been asked to testify before both the Senate and House intelligence committees.

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