Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) Finds Evidence Of Russian Ads On YouTube, Gmail

Facebook pushed to publicly release Russian-connected ads

But as Congress pressed technologies companies to find out how Russian operatives influenced the 2016 elections by tapping social media, online ads, and other digital tools, Google launched an investigation.

The Washington Post noted that until now, Google has "mostly avoided the scrutiny" that's focused on Facebook, which recently provided Congressional investigators with about 3,000 Russian-bought ads. However, according to the Post, the search giant, who downplayed any such possibility on its platforms before, has now initiated an investigation into the matter. Since the Google investigation is not complete, more Russian ads could be discovered.

This news comes as Facebook's security executive Alex Stamos responded to critics of the company's reaction to the fake news narrative.

The roughly $4,700 in Russian-bought Google ads is only an initial estimate, and for the moment, it's much less than the Kremlin's apparent disinformation campaign on Facebook.

The company announced Thursday that company executives are talking with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

"This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian - even though they didn't necessarily violate any policy or law".


Google found an advertisement, purchased by Russia, YouTube, Gmail and other platforms.

Given that Google had previously said Russian influence was minimal on its platform, the new revelations raise a similar question: Was the company intentionally obscuring the facts in the hope that it didn't caught or, perhaps just as alarmingly, did it simply not understand what has happening?

This is the first time Google has been reported to admit to evidence of this activity.

"If Vladimir Putin is using Facebook or Google or Twitter to, in effect, destroy our democracy, the American people should know about it", Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said Monday on MSNBC.

As with other tech giants, Google has previously downplayed the likelihood of Russian involvement on its platforms ahead of last year's United States presidential elections. Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms.

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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