Citing people familiar with its investigation, the Post says the Russian-bought ads could be worth more than $100,000, and that Google is still investigating if the ads were from the troll accounts, or there were some legitimate Russian accounts involved.
As Google is continuing a probe into alleged Russian attempts to influence the results of the USA presidential election by buying digital ads, some mainstream media outlets have already been quick to claim alleged discoveries on the issue.
Last month, Facebook disclosed that a company tied to the Russian government had purchased at least $100,000 in ads as part of a propaganda campaign, and later said the ads reached 10 million people. In the report, the Russian affiliated group that bought ads on Facebook, Inc. were different than the team that purchased ads on Google.
While Facebook and Twitter have already indicated that they have discovered content funded by Russian interests, Google remains very discreet on the subject, even if the group was also invited by Congress to testify in a public hearing on the 1st of November.
While Facebook has always been a perceived (albeit unwilling) culprit in the ongoing investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election, Google has largely avoided any significant bombshells.
Andrea Faville, a spokesperson for Google previously said no evidence of malicious ad campaigns had been found. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million US users that log onto the service each month. According to the report, Google and Twitter have not been cooperating with each other in their investigations. It also disclosed that the account for the news site RT, which the company linked to the Kremlin, spent $US274,100 on its platform in 2016.
Congressional committees have launched multiple investigations into Russian interference, but concern about Silicon Valley's role has surged over the past month against the backdrop of a cascade of revelations about how Russia appears to have leveraged their platforms to spread propaganda.
As The Washington Post noted: "The campaign poured money into Facebook, sending thousands of versions of tweaked ads to maximize response".