In the height of Russian ad buys during the 2016 election, it wasn't just Facebook that got the attention, but Google too.
Google has found evidence that a Russian government campaign used the company's platforms to spread propaganda, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
The Russian-bought ads unearthed by Google are seemingly not from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that was found to have purchased ads on Facebook. Russia, which has bought sponsored content on Facebook and Twitter during the u.s. election, has also done the same on Google, tells the Washington Post this Monday. The news about the Instagram ads was released last Friday in a blog post from Facebook's VP of policy and communications Elliot Schrage and was the first notification that Russian-bought ads ran on more than Facebook's signature platform.
Facebook has said the ads reached about 10 million United States users of the service, nearly certainly enough to affect or even change the outcome of the election.
Significantly, these adverts don't appear to come from the same sources as the Russian-linked ad campaign on Facebook.
The company's investigation has apparently determined these ad purchases were made during the 2016 presidential election.
The Post spoke to employees who are familiar with the company's own investigation and it sounds like the amount of spend was in "tens of thousands of dollars".
The company told AFP that it has "a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion".
Though the videos were only viewed hundreds of times, they demonstrated for the first time that Russian Federation allegedly deployed real people, not just fake online accounts or bots, to further spread propaganda.
As with other tech giants, Google has previously downplayed the likelihood of Russian involvement on its platforms ahead of last year's U.S. presidential elections.
Facebook, Twitter and now Google. Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms.
The three companies have been asked to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on November 1. Last week, the social media titan reported it found 2,200 advertisements linked to other Russian operatives, not the Internet Research Agency organization it identified earlier.