INTERNET OVERLORD Google claims to have uncovered Trump ads on its platform that were bought by Russian accounts, suggesting attempts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
According to a new report in the Washington Post, Google launched an investigation into the concern last month which has resulted in Congress asking US tech giants to find out how Russian operatives could have used social media and online advertising to influence the vote, which took place on 8 November last year.
The advertising appeared on YouTube, Google search advertising, Gmail advertising and Google's DoubleClick ad platform, the report states, costing a total of about $100,000 and supporting the then-candidate Donald Trump, Democrat Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidate Jill Stein during the campaign.
Other ads promoted anti-immigrant sentiment and racial animosity. The ads showed no sign of support for Hillary Clinton.
While Google did not comment directly on the findings, it said that it has strict ad policies that include "limits on political ad targeting" and "prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion."
"We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries," Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville said.
Google, Facebook and Twitter have all agreed to testify at public hearings before the Senate and House intelligence committees on 1 November, said company sources. Reports suggest Google will also meet privately with the committees before then.
In September, Facebook suspended 470 accounts found to be spreading disinformation and divisive views most likely as part of an orchestrated Russian campaign to influence US public opinion.
Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos said at the time that the accounts appeared to be part of an organised campaign to sow disinformation. µ
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