Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Google Uncovers Russia-Paid Ads On YouTube, Gmail

Gmail app Google, Facebook and fake news
Lucas Bell | 10 October, 2017, 00:35

They downloaded the service's historical data and looked to connect Russian-linked Twitter accounts to Google accounts that had made advertising purchases during the election. Congress is reportedly set to have representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google testify on the incidents. When Facebook revealed the extent of its problem, it talked about $100,000 in ad buys from almost 500 affiliated accounts "likely operated out of Russia".

News of Google's discovery comes after Facebook last month revealed that 470 "inauthentic" accounts and Pages that "likely operated out of Russia" spent approximately $100,000 between June 2015 and May 2017 on 3,000 ads on its platform.

As with other tech giants, Google has previously downplayed the likelihood of Russian involvement on its platforms ahead of last year's USA presidential elections.

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.

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

One outside expert, Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University acknowledged last week that the influence of Russian disinformation on the presidential election was "much greater" than Google, Facebook and other social media companies are willing to acknowledge.

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Amid growing revelations that the companies that many Americans rely on as news sources were exploited by a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding the US presidential election, there's a new report that "Russian agents" spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Google properties such as its search engine, YouTube, Gmail and more.

Google found an advertisement, purchased by Russia, YouTube, Gmail and other platforms. The social network allows advertisers to target its audience with more specificity than Google, including users with a wide range of political leanings. Google has yet to confirm whether it will also give evidence at the hearing.

In contrast to Facebook, Google's ads appear to come from a different source than the pro-Kremlin troll farm that leveraged the social network.

It's not just Facebook and Twitter.

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.

The content of the ads that flowed through Google was not clear.

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