Google to Assist Investigation Into Abuse of Its Platforms by 'Russian Agents'

Google to Assist Investigation Into Abuse of Its Platforms by 'Russian Agents'

Google has found Russian agents burned through a huge number of dollars on advertisements on its YouTube, Gmail and Google Search items with an end goal to intrude in the 2016 us presidential decision, a man informed on the organization's test told Reuters on Monday.

Google's internal investigation found $4,700 of search ads and display ads the company believes are Russian-connected, and found $53,000 of ads with political content were purchased from Russian internet providers, building addresses or with Russian currency, people familiar with the investigation said.

SAN FRANCISCO | Russian operatives bought ads across several of Google's services without the company's knowledge, the latest evidence their campaign to influence US voters was as sprawling as it was sophisticated.

Facebook recently announced that it sold $100,000 worth of ads to the Russian-linked Internet Research Agency.

Like Facebook and Twitter, Google and its parent company Alphabet have agreed to testify at public hearings before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on November 1, sources at all three companies told CNN.

Google has uncovered less than US$100,000 (RM422,345) in ad spending potentially linked to Russian actors, the source said.

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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. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million U.S. users that log onto the service each month. The Washington Post was the first to report that Russians also purchased ads on Google.

Questioned by AFP, a spokesman for Google merely to indicate that the group "had a series of very strict rules in terms of sponsored content, including limits on the targeting of political content sponsored and the prohibition to target content according to the race and the religion". Twitter has not said how many times the Russian disinformation was shared.

Separately, the Daily Beast reported that Russian Federation recruited fervent supporters of President Donald Trump to make YouTube videos that bashed his campaign opponent Hillary Clinton. Google has not said whether it will accept a similar invitation to do so. But, after checking the data provided by Twitter, Google concluded the latest report on Russian meddling. There's also a widespread belief that Russians spread misinformation in order to promote Donald Trump during the elections.

Google also has two different sets of policies for dealing with who can create accounts and who can buy advertising, making it harder for the company to police accounts that simply created YouTube pages without paying money to advertise or have those pages promoted.

Information for this article was contributed by Mark Bergen and Gerrit De Vynck of Bloomberg News.

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