Google discovered Russian-bought ads on YouTube and Gmail

European action has become increasingly aggressive against US technology giants Amazon Facebook and Apple as well as GoogleLEON NEAL

A new exclusive report on Monday from the Washington Post on Monday revealed that Google, which previously insisted Russia has little influence on its platform, has discovered that Russian operatives bought ads on YouTube, Gmail, Google search and other products to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Google had previously said it was not used in the alleged Russian campaign to steer the November US presidential election won by Donald Trump. There were also posts created to stoke cultural tensions in the country, such as anti-immigrant material, according to the Washington Post.

Nevertheless, Google launched an investigation into the matter, as Congress pressed technology companies to determine how Russian operatives used social media, online advertising, and other digital tools to influence the 2016 presidential contest and foment discord in U.S. society.

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Parscale told correspondent Lesley Stahl that his primary job was to send hundreds of thousands of "carefully-tailored, low-priced digital ads" to millions of people on Google search, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

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

Google to date has avoided for the most part scrutiny that has hit its biggest rival Facebook.

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The ads in question appear to be from a different Russian outfit than the "Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook", the report notes, suggesting that "the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far".

Twitter has also said that it suspended 201 accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency. According to the company, these profiles bought about 3,000 ads ahead of Election Day.

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. One research group believes that the election influence of Russian groups on Twitter, Facebook and other networks has actually been massively underreported. The only location where Google allows ad targeting by political affiliation is the United States.

Project Loon balloons, from Google's Alphabet, to aid Puerto Rico
The project, which is run by research firm X, has provided back-up internet services after natural disasters before. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services .

It has been widely reported that Russian president Vladimir Putin, hoping that electing Donald Trump to the USA presidency, would allow him to remove sanctions imposed on his administration by the Obama administration, helped the current president win the election.

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