Google sold ads to Russian-linked parties too

Yolanda Curtis
October 11, 2017

Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) sent letters Facebook and Twitter last week, urging the companies to turn over ads bought by Kremlin linked actors to the CBC.

Amid growing revelations that the companies which many Americans rely on as news sources were exploited by a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding the USA presidential election, there's a new report that "Russian agents" spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Google properties, such as its search engine, YouTube, Gmail and more.

A study published on Monday by researchers with the Oxford Internet Institute, which is affiliated with the British university, found that current US military personnel and veterans were targeted by disinformation campaigns on Twitter and Facebook over the past year by a nexus of pro-Kremlin, Russian-oriented sites, along with conspiracy theorists and European right-wing ideologues. Google's review had been more robust than ones undertaken so far by Facebook or Twitter, the source said. The backlash prompted the social network to update its ad policies to ban discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or age, among other factors. Russia's ad purchases on Google were first reported by the Washington Post. Google runs the world's largest online advertising business, and YouTube is the world's largest online video site. Last week, Facebook handed some 3,000 ads over to federal lawmakers investigating Russian interference. Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms. Some posed as Black Lives Matter sympathizers critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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.

Facebook, Google, Twitter are the shady bouncers of the web.

Joining Facebook and Twitter, Google has now been sucked into an investigation into how Russian Federation influenced the U.S. presidential elections a year ago. The tech giants are scheduled for a double-header on November 1: They have been asked to testify before both the Senate and House intelligence committees.

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