Facebook has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks after it said that Russian agents had paid for ads to spread political division in the contentious election, and Twitter has also banned more than 200 accounts linked to a Russian propaganda unit. Google has launched an investigation into the ad-buying, which amounted to less than $100,000.
Google for the first time revealed Monday that Russian Federation purchased ads in order to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election for then-Republican candidate Donald Trump's benefit, according to the Washington Post. However, the Google ads were reportedly not purchased by the same Vladimir Putin-affiliated group that bought ads on Facebook, meaning the problem could be more widespread than thought. Twitter and Google, the Post reports, "have not cooperated" in their investigations.
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The advertisements, said the report, do not appear to be from the same troll groups that bought ads on Facebook and could be part of a much broader effort to meddle with the USA election.
In response to the television segment, Facebook tried to distance itself from the Trump campaign, telling 60 Minutes in a statement that although Facebook teams offer insight into how the company's products work, "campaigns make their own strategic decisions about how to use the Facebook platform". In many cases, the ads encouraged people to follow pages on those issues.
Facebook, Twitter and now Google.
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In a blog post, Elliot Schrage, vice-president of policy and communications, wrote that he believed around 10 million people would have seen some of the adverts, but that 25% of them would not have been seen by anybody.
That includes efforts on Capitol Hill to study Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. There, approximately 470 accounts tied to known Russian trolls purchased 3,000 ads, totaling about $100,000. Congress is reportedly set to have representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google testify on the incidents.
Global social media platform Facebook, meanwhile, has also recently said that it had to shut down thousands of fake accounts in the run up to the German election last month.
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Twitter, meanwhile, also "proactively" shared with Congress a "round-up of ads" that Russia's state-run TV network Russia Today (RT) targeted at US users in 2016.