Google 'discovers Russia-linked ads' on YouTube and Gmail before USA election

File Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Vladivostok Russia 2012

But the ads do not appear to come from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farms that bought thousands of ads on Facebook meant to distribute disinformation online about the election, the report said.

The ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook Inc FB.O , but may indicate a broader Russian online disinformation effort, according to the source, who was not authorized to discuss details of Google's confidential 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. Google had previously said it had seen no evidence of Russian-bought election ads on its platforms. "We are sure that as Google looks deeper it will find that the Russians did worse than they are reporting and when you add that to what we know happened at Facebook and Twitter, you begin to understand the scope of their influence on the 2016 presidential elections", a national security expert told The Liberal Advocate News Monday.

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. Initially, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly denied the platform had any role in spreading false information.

The U.S. Congress has opened multiple investigations to determine the level of Russian interference in the 2016 election.




As of now, there have been no comments from Google or Alphabet on the development. Google has not yet said whether it has accepted an invitation to do the same.

Last month, Facebook disclosed that a company tied to the Russian government had purchased at least $100,000 in ads as part of a propaganda campaign, and later said the ads reached 10 million people.

If Google has found a similar tactic employed on its own platforms, but from a totally separate source of ad-generators, it may hint at a Russian-backed scheme that's much more complex and widespread than many first thought. Ads were apparently discovered on YouTube as well as search, Gmail and the DoubleClick ad network run by Google. Facebook was reported last week working with Twitter and Google on these matters.

All three firms are expected to appear on November 1 in an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the rising evidence that they were covertly manipulated in a campaign to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

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