Google has discovered it sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of online ads to Russian-linked actors trying to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to The Washington Post.
The Post reported that the ads cost less than $100,000 and were deployed on a variety of Google’s platforms, including YouTube, Gmail and in search results.
People familiar with the ads told the outlet that the ads do not appear to originate from the Internet Research Agency, the Russian “troll farm” that Facebook said had purchased $100,000 of political ads on its platform through fake accounts.
"We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. "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."
Facebook turned over more than 3,000 ads to Congress and the special counsel’s office, which are both investigating Russian efforts to influence the outcome of last year’s election, and has agreed to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees on Nov. 1.
Twitter has also said that it suspended 201 accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency. It too will be sending a representative to testify before Congress.
Google has not said whether it will testify.
The Post reported that Google used data from Twitter to link Russian Twitter accounts with those who had purchased the Google ads. According to the report, Google and Twitter have not been cooperating with each other in their investigations.