The alleged Russian involvement in the US presidential election process is even more evident now that Google too has confirmed its platforms were used by Russian agencies to post ads aimed at spreading ‘disinformation.’
Google said the ads emanating from Russia used the company’s extensive advertising network which includes YouTube or Google’s DoubleClick ad setup as well as ads that get displayed via Google search or Gmail. All of that does make sense considering that Google provides for the most extensive online advertising platform, with Facebook coming in at second.
Russian based agency’s meddling with the Facebook news feed to post fake news has already come to the fore. Now with Google too reporting a similar misuse of its platform to attempt influencing the outcome of the election has only proved the issue to be of a much larger proportion than initially estimated.
Interestingly, the ads posted on Google’s network seem to be backed by a different source than the Kremlin based troll agency that targeted Facebook with fake news and ads. The discovery comes on the back of an earlier assertion from Google that had claimed its ad and monitoring policies to be robust enough to prevent a Facebook type misuse of its platform to run a similar campaign.
However, the issue came to light only after researchers and officials investigating the development pressed Silicon Valley companies to probe deeper to find out the extent of Russian involvement in the US election process. The monetary aspect of the issue is again no mean a figure considering that tens and thousands of dollars were spent on placing the ads.
A similar scrutiny of Facebook has revealed ads and news placed on its platform that aimed at fomenting communal and racial discrimination among US citizens. Many of such ads seem to favor the chances of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the Green party candidate Jill Stein during elections. Facebook said they are still conducting the enquiry and are looking at thousands of more ads that seems to bear the same overtures of a possible Russia link.
Google meanwhile has issued a statement saying they are further investigating the developments with help from researchers and security experts to find out the extent of the abuse of its platforms. What is evident is that the saga seems unending and the plot keeps getting thickened.