Russians said to have bought $100000 of election ads on Google

Russians said to have bought $100000 of election ads on Google

After Facebook and Twitter admitting the presence of Russian operatives on their platforms to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Google has reportedly discovered that millions were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google's platforms, including YouTube.

Russian Federation used Google to intervene in the United States presidential election in 2016, said the influential American newspaper the Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the results of an internal investigation. The company previously claimed that Russian election meddling wasn't a Google problem, telling WaPo that it's "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".

According to the Post, Google found the Russian ads when it siphoned data from Twitter that enabled Google investigators to link Russian Twitter accounts to those using Google services to purchase ads. Russia, which has bought sponsored content on Facebook and Twitter during the u.s. election, has also done the same on Google, tells the Washington Post this Monday. "Calling [the idea of disinformation on Facebook] insane was dismissive and I regret it", he said late last month.

Facebook recently shared about 3,000 Russian-backed ads with Congress.

Evidence is emerging that Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential elections may be more elaborate than is now known and being reported.

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The Post spoke to employees who are familiar with the company's own investigation and it sounds like the amount of spend was in "tens of thousands of dollars". The company said it found 450 accounts and about $100,000 was spent on the ads.

The 2016 presidential election marked the first time that Google allowed targeting by political leanings and it allowed two categories - left-leaning and right-leaning.

Google would not provide any comment related to the matter. Google has not yet said whether it has accepted an invitation to do the same.

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

Google officials are expected to testify in front of Congress on November 1 on the issue, along with representatives from Facebook and Twitter. Those accounts bought advertising to promote those messages and reach a bigger audience within the Facebook universe, while promoting the incendiary posts to different locations or people with established political leanings for maximum impact.

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