Google Uncovers Ads by Russian Operatives

Google, Facebook and fake news

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.

Google began the investigation after Congress asked tech companies to help determine how Russian agents used social media to influence the election.

On Monday, Oxford University researchers said they have found that fake Twitter and Facebook accounts linked to Russians were used to target USA active military personnel as well as veterans "mixing disinformation alongside other content already being read and shared widely among these communities". Google did not comment on the matter to the Post, which cited people familiar with the company's investigation.

The Russian-bought ads unearthed by Google are seemingly not from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that was found to have purchased ads on Facebook.

Initially, the company abandoned the idea to investigate "Russian meddling" on its platform, but eventually a probe into the issue was launched, according to the report.

Facebook found "roughly 3,000" ads connected to 470 inauthentic accounts and pages it believes were "affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation".

The social network recently turned over evidence to Congressional investigators about thousands of alleged Russian-bought ads that were created to throw the presidential election into chaos.

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Google has uncovered less than $100,000 in ad spending potentially linked to Russian actors, the source said. Last week, the social media titan reported it found 2,200 advertisements linked to other Russian operatives, not the Internet Research Agency organization it identified earlier.

Google operates the largest online business of advertising in the world, and YouTube is the largest video site online in the world.

According to the report, Google has discovered that tens of thousands of USA dollars have been spent on ads across its networks. There, approximately 470 accounts tied to known Russian trolls purchased 3,000 ads, totaling about $100,000.

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.

The disclosures have brought heightened scrutiny around the company's ad practices, and Facebook has already announced changes. Associated accounts are confirmed to have purchased ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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.

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