Poking Noses: Russian-linked accounts interfered in 2016 election using Google Ads

Poking Noses: Russian-linked accounts interfered in 2016 election using Google Ads

Poking Noses: Russian-linked accounts interfered in 2016 election using Google Ads

Facebook found that suspected Russian operatives, working for a content farm called the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia, used its platforms to purchase politically divisive ads and content in a bid to influence Americans voting in the November 2016 presidential election.

United States intelligence agencies said earlier this year that Russia had tried to sway the election in favour of Mr Trump but the Russian government and Mr Trump have both denied this.

The revelation sheds more light on the role that Silicon Valley may have unwittingly played during last year's election.

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Google did not immediately comment on the report, which said the company discovered the Russian presence by siphoning data from Twitter.

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Ads triggered anger on Facebook and the U.S. in Russian Federation, as the world's largest social network discovered its existence last month.

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In the first quarter of 2017, Facebook has spent over $3.2 million on lobbying, a "company record", according to Bloomberg, while Google spent almost $6 million in its second quarter. Google did not deny the story, and in a statement pointed to its existing ad policies that limit political ad targeting and prohibit targeting based on race or religion. Google now runs the world's largest online advertising business. Some congressional leaders are reportedly planning to introduce legislation that requires internet companies to disclose more information about purchases of political ad on their platforms.

Investigators have previously concluded Russian companies with ties to the Kremlin bought at least $US100,000 ($128,912) in ads on Facebook, potentially reaching 10 million Americans.

Lawmakers have summoned Facebook, Twitter and Google for public hearings on the matter. The social media giant Facebook underwent an intense scrutiny after it confirmed discovery of 470 profiles and pages of a company linked to Kremlin.

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Google officials have been invited to testify publicly before both the House and Senate intelligence committees about Russian attempts to use their platforms to influence the election.

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