Russia-backed ads found on YouTube, Gmail


On the scale of things it is not that much but added to the Facebook, Twitter and possible Bing money and other advertising it is clear that Putin was rather keen on gaming the USA election. Google did this by downloading historical data that Twitter makes available to developers, according to the Post's sources. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) sent letters Facebook and Twitter last week, urging the companies to turn over ads bought by Kremlin linked actors to the CBC.

The sprawling inquiry into the extent of Russian attempts to purchase ads on the United States internet before the 2016 USA federal elections has expanded to yet another digital giant, with Microsoft confirming that it has launched an internal investigation into whether it sold such advertisements via its Bing search engine. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow's goal was to help elect Donald Trump.

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On Friday, #Elliot Schrage, the vice president of Facebook's policy and communication, revealed that about $6,700 was spent on 5% ads purchased from Russian fake accounts on Instagram.

On Monday, Microsoft told Reuters that the company is looking to see if Russians purchased ads on Microsoft owned products and platforms in order to influence the results of 2016 us election.

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Further complicating the wild cloud of allegations is the involvement of numerous for-profit networks of hoaxers and scammers who have taken advantage of lax online ad policies and the US' high-pressure political situation to drive millions of Americans to knockoff content farms. "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". On Sunday, The Daily Beast reported that the Kremlin recruited at least two black video bloggers to post clips on YouTube during the campaign. Some posed as Black Lives Matter sympathizers critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

There is a chance that Google may find more ads related to the Russian accounts as investigation moves forward. Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms.

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Google has been invited to testify before both the House and Senate intelligence committees next month. "If Vladimir Putin is using Facebook or Google or Twitter to, in effect, destroy our democracy, the American people should know about it", Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal said on Monday.