Google uncovered Russia-backed ads on YouTube, Gmail, source says

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US intelligence agencies have previously concluded Moscow wanted to help elect Donald Trump and both Twitter and Facebook have found Russian operatives used their platform to buy ads and post content to influence the election.

The Post reported that Google used data from Twitter to link Russian Twitter accounts with those who had purchased the Google ads.

Google is investigating claims that shadowy Russian agents paid tens of thousands of dollars to advertise on its platforms in a bid to influence the United States election.

The Russian-bought ads unearthed by Google are seemingly not from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that was found to have purchased ads on Facebook.

After Facebook and Twitter, Google has now reportedly come up with similar findings when it comes to Russian-bought ads on its platforms. "Calling [the idea of disinformation on Facebook] insane was dismissive and I regret it", he said late last month.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw an unprecedented cyber campaign to meddle in the election, with the apparent aim of promoting Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

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One outside expert, Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University acknowledged last week that the influence of Russian disinformation on the presidential election was "much greater" than Google, Facebook and other social media companies are willing to acknowledge.

A content farm called the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia used these social networking platforms as a way to influence Americans during the Presidential election.

But after launching a review, the company found around $100,000 (£76,000) in ad spending potentially linked to Russian sources, according to a source.

Andrea Faville, a spokesperson for Google previously said no evidence of malicious ad campaigns had been found. YouTube, which Google owns, is the largest online video service in the world. This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian - even though they didn't necessarily violate any policy or law.

The disclosures have brought heightened scrutiny around the company's ad practices, and Facebook has already announced changes.

Like Facebook and Twitter, Google and its parent company Alphabet have agreed to testify at public hearings before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on November 1, sources at all three companies told CNN. Facebook was reported last week working with Twitter and Google on these matters.

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