A startling revelation in the US Presidential election has come up. Search engine giant Google claims Russian operatives spent thousands of dollars for advertisements on Google’s channels like YouTube, Gmail, and Google Search, and that these ads were used to manipulate the U.S. Presidential election.
While the ads don’t appear to be generated from the same entity within the Kremlin that purchased ads on Facebook, there seems to be broader involvement by the Russians. This was indicated by an internal source from Google, who preferred to keep his identity confidential for security.
This revelation further strengthens the investigation into roles played by companies from Silicon Valley during last year’s election. US Intelligence agencies have suspected that Moscow played a role in getting Donald Trump elected as President of United States.
Google found that approximately $100,000 was spent on ads that were possibly linked to Russian movie stars. Twitter and Facebook also confirmed the presence of Russian operatives, who purchased ads under the name of Internet Research Agency located in St. Petersburg, Russia, to publish content to influence American citizens during the November 2016 election period.
Last month, Facebook disclosed that $100,000 was spent on advertisements by Internet Research Agency, and was under severe scrutiny by various authorities. They have pledged to maintain absolute transparency about transactions related to purchase of ads in the future.
Google’s claim is by far stronger than Facebook or Twitter, according to the Washington Post. Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, has not denied these claims, and have reiterated existing ad policies that restrict political ad targeting and prohibit any sort of targeting based on race or religion.