Google Reportedly Finds Russian-Bought Ads On Search, YouTube, DoubleClick

Google Reportedly Finds Russian-Bought Ads On Search, YouTube, DoubleClick

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.

"We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies, and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries", a Google spokeswoman said on Monday.

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. According to the social network, the ads were bought by operatives linked with the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm affiliated with the Russian government. The dubious ads ran across several of Google's platforms, including GMail, Search, and YouTube - the largest video site on the web.

Facebook turned those ads over to Congress and the special counsel's office, which are both investigating Russian efforts to influence the outcome of last year's election, and has agreed to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees on November 1.

Given that Google had previously said Russian influence was minimal on its platform, the new revelations raise a similar question: Was the company intentionally obscuring the facts in the hope that it didn't caught or, perhaps just as alarmingly, did it simply not understand what has happening?

The report said the company discovered the Russian presence by siphoning data from Twitter.

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.

The content of the ads that flowed through Google was not clear. "Calling [the idea of disinformation on Facebook] insane was dismissive and I regret it", he said late last month. Jigsaw has been doing research for 18 months on fake news and misinformation campaigns and it is using some of those findings in the investigation into Russian election meddling, the person said. Twitter shut down more than 200 accounts tied to the Kremlin.

The Trump campaign used the technology to "microtarget on a scale never seen before", according to Parscale, who also noted that he specifically requested Republican employees from these social media and digital companies to embed with the campaign.

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