For the first time, Google has accused Russian entities of abusing its ad network to sway people’s decisions during the 2016 Presidential election. People familiar with the company’s investigation say tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads across many Google products including YouTube, Google Search, Gmail, and DoubleClick. Google hasn’t publicly disclosed the findings of its investigation yet.
Those close to the investigation reported that the ads cost less than $100,000 and that Google is still sorting through the ads to find out whether they originated from legitimate Russian accounts, or entities trying to influence the election.
On Monday, Google issued a statement saying:
“We have a set of strict policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion. We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies, and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries.”
The news comes hot on the heels of similar admissions by Facebook, which now claims that 10 million Americans saw - what it calls - Russian ads. The ads, which Facebook says covers sensitive issues such as gun rights and immigration, were said to have been against Facebook’s terms of service.