Google to Assist Investigation Into Abuse of Its Platforms by 'Russian Agents'

Google to Assist Investigation Into Abuse of Its Platforms by 'Russian Agents'

Google to Assist Investigation Into Abuse of Its Platforms by 'Russian Agents'

Google has discovered Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on its YouTube, Gmail and Google Search products in an effort to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election, a person briefed on the company's probe told Reuters on Monday.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have all agreed to testify at public hearings before the Senate and House intelligence committees on November 1, company sources {link:told CNN: Monday "http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/09/media/google-russia-ads/index.html?adkey=bn" target="_blank"}.

The Washington Post was the first to report Google's discovery. The media outlet claimed that tens of thousands of dollars had been spend on ads, however, no further details on "the Russian agents" or specific proof has been provided.

In early September, Facebook said that Russia-linked entities bought $100,000 worth of political ads over the two-year period up to May of this year.

The content was pulled from Facebook and Twitter in August after it was identified as Russian government-backed propaganda, the Daily Beast reported, but the YouTube page remained live until shortly after the news was disclosed Monday.

"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", the company said.

Twitter has also targeted accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, however, the most recent discovery by Google is particularly significant "because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook - a sign that the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far", says the Post. (FB), the ads on Google touched on a variety of hot-button social topics, without a clear bent toward one candidate or political position, these people said. Using that data, Twitter found roughly 200 accounts linked to the IRA.

Google, which runs the world's biggest internet publicizing business, had to a great extent avoided open or congressional examination up to this point. "We are therefore investigating and if inappropriate activity is found, we will take steps to minimise such misuse in the future", a Microsoft representative said in an email to Reuters.

"We take reports of misuse of our platform seriously", the spokesman wrote to Gizmodo.

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