Report: Russia purchased Google ads to meddle in US election

According to the Washington Post, Google has discovered evidence suggesting that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election by purchasing ads on its platforms. It appears that the ads were not bought by the same Moscow-linked group that purchased ads on Facebook, which could mean that the Russian effort to meddle in the election was broader than previously estimated.
Google Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Google for the first time revealed Monday that Russia purchased ads in order to influence the 2016 US presidential election for then-Republican candidate Donald Trump’s benefit, according to the Washington Post. The report states that the Russians created ads that were designed to help Trump on YouTube, Gmail and other advertising platforms.

The report claims that the company’s investigation uncovered that the ads were not bought by the same group that is associated with the Kremlin and purchased ads on Facebook, which could indicate that the Russian effort to meddle in the election was more comprehensive than previously estimated. The sources with knowledge of the investigation who spoke with the Washington Post said Google found that tens of thousands of dollars were invested by Russian agents in the ads that were designed to spread disinformation regarding the election via the company’s platforms.

Some of the ads, which cost a total of about $100,000, were about Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. Others were about the US immigration policy, an apparent attempt to promote division among the American people.

Google has belittled the problem of Russian agents using its platforms in the past. In September, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told The Washington Post that the company is “always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies.” She added: “We’ve seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms.”

However, the company launched an investigation after Congress urged the technology giant to determine whether the Russians used its various platforms in order to meddle in the election. While Google refused to comment on the matter, the sources said that the company is still trying to determine whether those who purchased the ads were trolls or Russian government officials.



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