Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Google uncovered Russia-backed ads on YouTube, Gmail, reports Washington Post

Google uncovers evidence of Russian interference ahead of 2016 US election Google uncovered Russia-backed ads on YouTube, Gmail, reports Washington Post
June Sullivan | 10 October, 2017, 00:35

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

After analyzing data, Google has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited its platforms to interfere in the 2016 election, reports one media outlet.

The company discovered the ads by downloading historical data from Twitter, according to the Washington Post, and using it "to link Russian Twitter accounts to other accounts that had used Google's services to buy ads".

There is a chance that Google may find other ads from Russian-linked accounts, the person familiar with the investigation said. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million US users that log onto the service each month. That means Russian actors have penetrated all the large Silicon Valley ad firms, as Facebook and Twitter recently revealed similar attacks.

The social network recently turned over evidence to Congressional investigators about thousands of alleged Russian-bought ads that were created to throw the presidential election into chaos. Or as spokesperson Andrea Faville previously said, they are "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".

Google has declined to provide a comment on the story to the newspaper.

Google earlier denied that Russian Federation used its platform to influence the presidential elections with spokeswoman Andrea Faville saying Google is "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".

But after launching a review, the company found around $100,000 (£76,000) in ad spending potentially linked to Russian sources, according to a source.

Though the videos were only viewed hundreds of times, they demonstrated for the first time that Russian Federation allegedly deployed real people, not just fake online accounts or bots, to further spread propaganda.

"If Vladimir Putin is using Facebook or Google or Twitter to, in effect, destroy our democracy, the American people should know about it", Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said Monday on MSNBC.

Meanwhile many Americans, and politicians on Capitol Hill, would like the Russian-backed Facebook ads to be released to the public. Congress is reportedly set to have representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google testify on the incidents.

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