Google finds Russia backed ads

  • 10/10/2017
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16:  A Google logo is displayed during the Viva Technology show on June 16, 2017 in Paris, France. Viva Technology, the new international event brings together 5,000 startups with top investors, companies to grow businesses and all players in the digital transformation who shape the future of the internet.  (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
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Google has discovered Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on YouTube, Gmail, Google search and other products, The Washington Post reports.

The ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook, which may indicate a broader Russian online disinformation effort, the paper reported on Monday. Google runs the world's largest online advertising business and YouTube is the world's largest online video site.

Google, owned by Alphabet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the story.

Google has downplayed the possibility of Russian influence on its platforms, but launched a probe into the matter, according to the Post. Both Twitter and Facebook have said that Russia bought ads and had accounts on their platforms.

A source who was briefed on Google's review but who did not work for the internet and search group said Google had uncovered less than US$100,000 (NZ$141,402) in ad spending that had potentially been linked to Russian actors.

Facebook, on the other hand, unearthed US$100,000 in spending from just one Russia-affiliated entity, the Internet Research Agency, the source said.

Meanwhile, Congress has started multiple investigations into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, with lawmakers on both political sides saying Russia intended to sow discord in the United States, spread propaganda and sway the election to elect President Donald Trump.

Google officials are expected to testify publicly before both the House and Senate intelligence committees on November 1 alongside Facebook and Twitter about Russian attempts to use their platforms to influence the election.