Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Electronics | By Jesus Weaver

Microsoft investigates Russian pro-Trump ads

Microsoft investigates Russian pro-Trump ads

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesman told Gizmodo it had received reports indicating possible involvement and would take appropriate action if it turns out Russians did purchase ads on Bing, though they did not confirm whether it had found anything. (NASDAQ:GOOG), were first reported by the Washington Post.

In the first quarter of 2017, Facebook has spent over $3.2 million on lobbying, a "company record", according to Bloomberg, while Google spent almost $6 million in its second quarter.

Facebook identified 150 ads bought by Russian-linked accounts on #Instagram to interfere in the past year presidential election, Fox News reported. Facebook tied the ads to a St Petersburg outfit called the Internet Research Agency, a firm which Buzzfeed and Russian sources have described as at least partially a front employing pro-Kremlin comment trolls.

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.

Google remains tight-lipped about the details of their initial findings, but has said they used data from Twitter (without Twitter's express consent) to investigate the ad buys. Google runs the world's largest online advertising business, and YouTube is the world's largest online video site.

A study published on Monday by researchers with the Oxford Internet Institute, which is affiliated with the British university, found that current USA military personnel and veterans were targeted by disinformation campaigns on Twitter and Facebook over the past year by a nexus of pro-Kremlin, Russian-oriented sites, along with conspiracy theorists and European right-wing ideologues. The US president, of course, has remained publicly sceptical about any of it, even after gleefully challenging Russian Federation to hack into Hillary Clinton's email system as similar leaks of Democratic emails were happening. Robin Kelly, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Emanuel Cleaver further press the companies to clamp down on ads "aimed at inciting racial discontent" or "voter suppression".

Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg will meet with lawmakers at the Capitol on Thursday as the company manages the fallout from revelations that Russian actors used Facebook to influence voters during the 2016 elections.

"We take reports of misuse of our platform seriously..."

Like this: