Google the Latest Tech Giant to Uncover Ads by Russian Operatives

Google, Facebook and fake news

But as Congress pressed technologies companies to find out how Russian operatives influenced the 2016 elections by tapping social media, online ads, and other digital tools, Google launched an investigation.

On Monday, Oxford University researchers said they have found that fake Twitter and Facebook accounts linked to Russians were used to target us active military personnel as well as veterans "mixing disinformation alongside other content already being read and shared widely among these communities". Using that data, Twitter found roughly 200 accounts linked to the IRA.

It's early days for Google, and it remains to be seen whether it will testify before USA congress on 1 Nov, along with Facebook and Twitter executives.

The ads bought on Google were not from the same organization that purchased the 3,000 ads on Facebook, according to the report.

Congressional committees have launched several investigations into the Russian interference in the US presidential elections. The company did not immediately comment on The Washington Post's story.

But Google's investigation hasn't found the same type of targeted advertising that Russian agents conducted on Facebook. "This is very well executed", Albright said in response to Google's announcement.

In a statement, though, a Google spokeswoman told Recode: "We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion".

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 2016 presidential election marked the first time that Google allowed targeting by political leanings and it allowed two categories - left-leaning and right-leaning.

Meanwhile many Americans, and politicians on Capitol Hill, would like the Russian-backed Facebook ads to be released to the public.

All three firms are expected to appear on November 1 in an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the rising evidence that they were covertly manipulated in a campaign to help Donald Trump win the presidency. But it has so far escaped the intense scrutiny confronting Facebook after the social network admitted that it discovered 470 profiles and pages to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin. Facebook was reported last week working with Twitter and Google on these matters.

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