USA intelligence agencies have previously concluded Moscow wanted to help elect Donald Trump and both Twitter and Facebook have found Russian operatives used their platform to buy ads and post content to influence the election.
According to The Washington Post's report, that set of ads being investigated cost less than $100,000 and Google is still trying at the moment to figure out if it was all troll-based, or whether there were some legitimate Russian residents running a campaign. The Washington Post reported Monday that Google products also saw Russian campaign ads make buys past year during the presidential campaign. From these Twitter accounts, Google found links to ad purchases using its services.
The ads bought on Google were not from the same organization that purchased the 3,000 ads on Facebook, according to the report. Twitter and Google, the Post reports, "have not cooperated" in their investigations.
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. Previously, Google said publicly that it had not yet found evidence of ads linked to the Kremlin on its platforms.
Facebook, Twitter and now Google. Even so, the technology behemoth agreed to testify before the Senate in late September alongside representatives from Facebook and Twitter.
The company announced Thursday that company executives are talking with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election. The hearing they will attend relates to ads, accounts and other activity ahead of the 2016 U.S. election.
Those ads focused on "amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum - touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights", Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a statement. Snap, however, told Recode that it has searched its data and found no evidence of any Russian-bought ads.
Facebook said last month that the ads appeared to have come from accounts associated with a Russian entity called the Internet Research Agency. This was perhaps easiest because Russia-linked accounts purchased as much as $270,000 on the social network in 2016.
In a blog post, Elliot Schrage, vice-president of policy and communications, wrote that he believed around 10 million people would have seen some of the adverts, but that 25% of them would not have been seen by anybody.