Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Google, Facebook, Twitter 'Scrambling' to Stop Regulation

Google, Facebook, Twitter 'Scrambling' to Stop Regulation

USA intelligence agencies said earlier this year that Russia had tried to sway the election in favour of Mr Trump but the Russian government and Mr Trump have both denied this.

The move is somewhat embarrassing for the Silicon Valley technology giants who generally opposed Trump but might have been key players in helping the Russians get him elected. The reports said the company discovered the Russian presence by analyzing information shared by Twitter and Facebook, as well its own research and tips from outside researchers. On the scale of things it is not that much but added to the Facebook, Twitter and possible Bing money and other advertising it is clear that Putin was rather keen on gaming the U.S. election.

Agents, whose accounts believed to be linked to the Russian government, bought search ads and traditional display ads worth of $4,700, revealed the source familiar to Google's investigation.

Twitter, another social media giant, has also linked roughly 200 accounts to the IRA and sold $US274,100 ($353,349) to RT, a Russian state broadcaster which potentially promoted over 1800 ads to Americans. Google did not deny the story, and in a statement pointed to its existing ad policies that limit political ad targeting and prohibit targeting based on race or religion. A Google spokeswoman commented, "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". YouTube is the world's largest online video site. They posed as Black Lives Matter sympathisers who were critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The company announced on Monday it will intensify its policy "to avoid advertising that uses even more subtle expressions of violence".

Google has been invited to testify before both the House and Senate intelligence committees next month.

The ads came through a different Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook and might be part of a wider Russian online disinformation effort. "If Vladimir Putin is using Facebook or Google or Twitter to, in effect, destroy our democracy, the American people should know about it", Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal said on Monday.

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