Google reportedly finds Russia-linked ads on YouTube, Gmail, Search

Google reportedly finds Russia-linked ads on YouTube, Gmail, Search

Google reportedly finds Russia-linked ads on YouTube, Gmail, Search

It appears that Google's previous statement was based on finding no ads from the Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook, but closer examination has found ads placed by other agents linked to the Russian government.

Google has uncovered evidence of a large-scale Russian operation to exploit its platforms as part of attempted interference with the 2016 U.S. election.

The Post reported that Google used data from Twitter to link Russian Twitter accounts with those who had purchased the Google ads. The Washington Post reported Monday that Google products also saw Russian campaign ads make buys previous year during the presidential campaign. Google did this by downloading historical data that Twitter makes available to developers, according to the Post's sources. Apart from Google Search, the state-sponsored ads were also supposedly served through other popular services from the tech giant like Gmail and YouTube, with the uncovered campaigns reportedly being worth tens of thousands of dollars but less than $100,000 in total.

Andrea Faville, a spokesperson for Google previously said no evidence of malicious ad campaigns had been found. Similar pages had been taken down by Facebook and Twitter, according to a report Monday by The Daily Beast.

"This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian - even though they didn't necessarily violate any policy or law".

Until now, it was believed Russian Federation only used Facebook to affect the election outcome and sow the seeds of discord in the run up to the poll nearly 12 months ago.

Facebook revealed last month that the company had found $100,000 in spending by the agency and has since pledged to become more transparent about their ad transactions.

In a blog post, Elliot Schrage, vice-president of policy and communications, wrote that he believed around 10 million people would have seen some of the adverts, but that 25% of them would not have been seen by anybody.

Congressional committees have launched multiple investigations into Russian interference, but concern about Silicon Valley's role has surged over the past month against the backdrop of a cascade of revelations about how Russia appears to have leveraged their platforms to spread propaganda.

Google will join Facebook and Twitter in giving evidence before congress in November.

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