Google platforms 'used by Russian Federation to influence United States election'

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

Earlier in the day, The Washington Post newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the company's probe, that Google had for the first time uncovered evidence that "Russian agents" used the company's platforms, such as YouTube, Google search, Gmail, to influence the USA presidential election.

Google has identified tens of thousands of dollars in ad buys by Russian accounts that used YouTube or Google advertising to try to spread misinformation and sow discord in American politics, sources familiar with the company's investigation told CNN.

Russia, which has bought sponsored content on Facebook and Twitter during the u.s. election, has also done the same on Google, reports the Washington Post on Monday. So far Facebook has been attracting the most scrutiny, after it found $100,000 in advertising spending on some 3,000 ads linked to a Russian troll farm with ties to the Kremlin. 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 Russian Federation link.

But a few days later, Mueller, over Trump's objections, was named to handle the independent criminal investigation of the Russian meddling in the election.

Google is the latest tech company that's found evidence of Russian-bought ads on its platforms.

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Questioned by AFP, a spokesman for Google merely to indicate that the group "had a series of very strict rules in terms of sponsored content, including limits on the targeting of political content sponsored and the prohibition to target content according to the race and the religion". It also disclosed that the account for the news site RT, which the company linked to the Kremlin, spent $274,100 on its platform in 2016.

Google has revealed under $100,000 in advertisement burning through possibly connected to Russian performing artists, the source said.

Twitter had similarly revealed that almost 2,000 ads were placed on the messaging service in 2016 by a Russian media group suspected of trying to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. RT also has a sizable presence on YouTube. Google has not said whether it will accept a similar invitation to do so.

Researchers believe that a double-pronged campaign of paid for and free posts helped Russian Federation reach millions of America for a relatively modest outlay. The rap videos were put together by two black video bloggers, calling themselves Williams and Kalvin Johnson, whose social media pages investigators say are part of the broad Russian campaign to influence American politics.

Google was able to discover the Russian activity on its platforms by acquiring data from Twitter (the social networking service allows developers to access every tweet dating back to 2006). A study by the Oxford Internet Institute, which is affiliated with the British Oxford University, found that current and former U.S. military personal were especially targeted by the Russian disinformation campaigns. This brings up the disturbing possibility of a widespread Russian-funded effort to completely destabilize the United States democratic system and tech industry by targeting Silicon Valley companies, which have become the country's economic backbone.

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