Google discovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms

11 October, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Shannon Newton
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Alphabet Inc.'s Google is the latest technology company to find that Russian-linked accounts used its advertising network to interfere with the 2016 us presidential election campaign.

The Post also reports these ads might not have been part of the same network that bought ads on Facebook and Twitter, but the outlet says the goal was similar: to spread divisive disinformation about hot-button political issues.

Google identified less than $100,000 was spent on advertisements which were linked to Russian fake accounts.

Google had initially ruled out a Facebook-like misuse of its platform to run an ad campaign to attempt influencing the U.S. elections, now accepted.

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Google, which runs the world's largest online advertising business, had largely evaded public or congressional scrutiny until now. However, pressure from Congress has prompted the company to launch an internal investigation into the matter, which is still in its early stages. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million U.S. users that log onto the service each month.

NEW YORK (AP) - Russian operatives likely spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads across Google products, including YouTube and Google search, according to reports.

Digital research expert Jonathan Albright said the latest revelations showed how skilled the Russians were at manipulating the tech giants.

They supported Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the Green party candidate Jill Stein during last year's U.S. presidential election campaign.

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Google was able to discover the Russian activity on its platforms by acquiring data from Twitter (the social networking service allows developers to access every tweet dating back to 2006).

Executives for Facebook and Twitter will testify before congressional investigators on November 1. A study by the Oxford Internet Institute, which is affiliated with the British Oxford University, found that current and former U.S. military personal were especially targeted by the Russian disinformation campaigns.

Google also has two different sets of policies for dealing with who can create accounts and who can buy advertising, making it harder for the company to police accounts that simply created YouTube pages without paying money to advertise or have those pages promoted. Numerous Trump associates, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have all been linked to allegations of collusion-though for all the smoke, investigators have yet to reveal any smoking guns.

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