Since last year, questions over Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election have been rife with speculation. As part of ongoing investigations by Congress, Facebook revealed yesterday that it uncovered $100,000 worth of political ad buys possibly tied to Russia.
In a statement today, Google stated that it did not find similar practices occurring on its ad platforms.
“We’re always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we’ve seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms.”
During a review, Facebook discovered $100,000 of spending for approximately 3,000 advertisements from June 2015 to May 2017. Its analysis notes the accounts worked in tandem with one another and were “likely operated out of Russia.”
Interestingly, the “vast majority” of the ads did not reference the election or candidates directly, but rather focussed 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.”
It’s unclear why Google was not chosen as a target platform given its troubles with “fake news” popping up in Search results and Knowledge Graph cards over the past year. Additionally, YouTube in recent months has had difficulty catching and removing extremist and radicalization videos from its network.
Possible reasons could be better monitoring on Google’s part or the fact that it is too different from a social network like Facebook.