Google uncovers 'Russia-backed' ads Gmail

Google uncovers Russia-backed ads on YouTube and Gmail

Google uncovers trove of ads bought by Russians during US election

The social network recently shared about 3000 Russian-bought ads with congressional investigators that were purchased by operatives associated with the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-government affiliated troll farm, the company has said.

The social media giant is still investigating whether the ads came from trolls or originated from actual Russian accounts, according to the Post.

The Post reported that Google used data from Twitter to link Russian Twitter accounts with those who had purchased the Google ads.

There is a chance that Google may find other ads from Russian-linked accounts, the person familiar with the investigation said.

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The ads were purchased on many of Google's products, including YouTube, which is the world's largest video sharing site, and Gmail, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

This news comes as Facebook's security executive Alex Stamos responded to critics of the company's reaction to the fake news narrative.

Facebook recently revealed that for just $100,000, apparent Russia-linked buyers placed about 3,000 advertisements on its pages previous year that appeared aimed at influencing the election in which Trump defeated his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Facebook found roughly 3,000 ads adverts linked to Russian Federation - but it has refused to publicly release them despite calls from congressional investigators.

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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? What's more, they also placed ads in Google's DoubleClick Ad network, which many Google-affiliated and third-party websites and applications make use of to generate revenue.

As part of a broad internal inquiry - which also spans sites like YouTube - Google also identified about $53,000 in ads that are connected to Russian Federation, through markers like a local billing address, but may not be explicitly tied to the Kremlin, the source said.

Google previously downplayed the problem of Russian meddling on its platforms.

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 company is testifying before congressional investigators on November 1, along with Twitter. Twitter shut down more than 200 accounts tied to the Kremlin.

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