Google uncovers trove of ads bought by Russians during United States election

Google uncovers trove of ads bought by Russians during United States election

Google has not identified how numerous accounts and ads are associated with the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked troll farm that bought ads on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook released more details about ads bought by Russian operatives past year with the intent of influencing the US presidential election, per a report from Recode.

According to the report, the ads did not appear to be purchased by the same Kremlin trolls who overwhelmed Facebook with propaganda and fake news - suggesting that the Russian cyber attacks might be even more extensive than previously reported. They downloaded the service's historical data and looked to connect Russian-linked Twitter accounts to Google accounts that had made advertising purchases during the election.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, said it should not be surprising that Russians were using Google as well as Facebook and Twitter.

It is unclear if some of the same ad buyers on Facebook also purchased ads on Google.

The amount of money spent on Google ads matches the sum reportedly spent by Russian operatives on Facebook in the lead-up to the election.

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The US is carrying out a wide-ranging investigation into whether Russian Federation interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

For its part, Google declined to comment Monday on the specific nature of the company's early findings. The company said it found 450 accounts and about $100,000 was spent on the ads. "This is very well executed", Albright said in response to Google's announcement.

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.

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O , 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.

Meanwhile many Americans, and politicians on Capitol Hill, would like the Russian-backed Facebook ads to be released to the public. Just last month, Twitter informed congressional investigators that it found around 200 accounts with ties to Russian propaganda dissemination.

Google officials have been invited to testify publicly about Russian attempts to use their platforms to influence the election before both the House and Senate intelligence committees on November 1 alongside Facebook and Twitter.

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