Google investigating Russian influence during 2016 election

By Daniel Uria  |  Sept. 30, 2017 at 12:58 PM
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Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Google has begun to investigate internally to determine if its ads or services were used by Russian entities to influence U.S. voters in the 2016 election.

Google, an Alphabet Inc. company, has launched a broad internal investigation and is talking with congressional officials currently probing Russian efforts to influence the election, a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

The company also plans to share its findings once completed.

"We will of course cooperate with inquiries; we're looking into how we can help with any relevant information," Google said.

The investigation follows revelations that social media networks including Twitter and Facebook were subject to profiles and advertisements promoting Russian-linked messages.

Facebook announced on Wednesday Russia-linked, "inauthentic" accounts had bought some 3,000 advertisements since mid-2015 focused on "amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum."

Twitter also revealed in a blog post on Thursday that more than 200 of its user accounts were being used as outlets for Russian propaganda including at least 22 that corresponded with some 450 false accounts on Facebook.

Facebook has shared details about the profiles found on its platform with Google after Congress criticized the investigations conducted by Facebook and Twitter for appearing incomplete.

The Senate intelligence committee has invited Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify publicly about the interference but none of the three companies have responded.

It isn't immediately clear if any suspect activity occurred on Google's platforms, which include the world's largest advertising business and largest online-video site, YouTube, but House intelligence committee Rep. Adam Schiff said lawmakers are interested in speaking with Google "given their dominant force online that has an advertising component."

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