Google is the world’s largest advertisement platform on the Web.
Russian operators spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on YouTube, Gmail and Google, an internal Google investigation revealed.
The ads are the first evidence Google has found that show that Russia was trying to use the company’s advertising platform to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to a Washington Post report Monday.
At the same time, those ads do not appear to have been originated by the same Kremlin-backed source who bought ads on Facebook, sources familiar with the investigation said, suggesting that several entities might share responsibility in the Russian effort to spread misinformation .
“We have a very strict set of ad policies, including limits on political ad targeting and segmentation bans based on race and religion,” a Google spokesman said Monday. “We are deepening to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, work with researchers and other companies and offer assistance to ongoing investigations.”
The presence of false news in the media, and accusations of Russian intrusion, cast a shadow over the 2016 presidential elections in the United States. A year later, technology companies and government officials are still trying to figure out the magnitude of these interventions.
Google has largely avoided the level of scrutiny directed at its Facebook partner Silicon Valley, which delivered more than 3,000 Russian-backed announcements to Congress earlier this month . But Google’s own research was a result of pressure from the US Congress. to determine the extent to which Russian operators used social networks and bought ads on Internet platforms.
Facebook’s role extends beyond advertisements to the types of fake news that appeared in the News Feed of its users. Over the weekend, Facebook’s security manager defended the use of algorithms on the social network, describing the problem of fake news as bigger and more complicated than many imagine.
“I’m seeing a ton of coverage driven by stereotypes about our employees and attacks on businesses,” Alex Stamos of Facebook said in a series of tweets . “No one in the big companies thinks the algorithms are neutral.”
On November 1, Google officials are expected to file a statement to Congress on the issue along with representatives from Facebook and Twitter.