Google has reportedly found evidence that its platforms were also exploited by Russia to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, following the revelations that both Facebook and Twitter were also targeted.
The tech giant is said to have found that tens of thousands of dollars was spent on Russian ads that spread misinformation across Google’s products – including YouTube, Search, Gmail, and the company’s DoubleClick ad network – according to The Washington Post, citing people familiar with Google’s investigation.
Like Facebook, Google had for a long time been sure that there had been no evidence of Russian influence on its platforms, but has been proved very wrong.
Despite the similarities, there is apparently no evidence that the ads came from the same Kremlin-affiliated farm that bought ads on Facebook – which shows the Russian efforts to impact the outcome of the election was a far wider issue than could ever have been imagined.
In Facebook’s case, the ads were seen by around 10m Americans between June 2015 and May 2017. These approximately 3,000 ads, connected to roughly 470 fake accounts and pages, accounted for around $100,000 in ad spend.
For Google, it's still early days in the investigation so the number of accounts and amount spent aren't quite known just yet. Now, we just wait until those figures are revealed.