An internal investigation at Google has uncovered that the tech giant is not unique from Facebook and Twitter in being used as a tool by Russian agents to influence the 2016 election, The Washington Post reports. People familiar with Google's probe, which has not yet been made public by the company, revealed that Russia-linked accounts attempted to spread disinformation through ads on YouTube, Google search, Gmail, and the ad subsidiary DoubleClick.
"The discovery by Google is ... significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook — a sign that the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far," the Post writes.
Known Russian advertising through Google totaled about $100,000 and promoted Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein as well as divisive topics like anti-immigration policies. Facebook and Twitter previously agreed to meet with congressional investigators to discuss similar ad buys by Russian agents, although it isn't clear if Google will join the tech representatives at a Nov. 1 hearing.
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Last month, Google denied that it was used for Russia's 2016 disinformation campaign. Google "[is] always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we've seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms," spokeswoman Andrea Faville told The Washington Post. Read the full investigation here.
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