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Google Uncovers Just 2 Suspect Ad Accounts in Probe of Election Interference

© REUTERS / Dado RuvicPeople are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Google logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
People are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Google logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. - Sputnik International
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Google said that it had reviewed all advertisements dating back to June 2015 that had "even the loosest connection to Russia" in addition to the two suspected accounts they found.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Google's thorough investigation of possible Russia-linked advertising on its platforms in the 2016 US election uncovered only two suspect ad accounts that spent just $4,700, the company's Senior Counsel Richard Salgado said in sworn testimony to the US Congress on Tuesday.

"On our advertising platforms, we ultimately found two accounts that appeared to be engaged in activity associated with known or suspected government-backed entities. The two accounts spent roughly $4,700 in connection with the 2016 US presidential election," Salgado said in written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.

In addition to the two suspected accounts, the company also reviewed all advertisements dating back to June 2015 that had "even the loosest connection to Russia," Salgado said.

The advertisements under review included all of those with Russian IP addresses or billing addresses, or those that used Russian currency, he added.

"We have seen no evidence to show that any of these ads are connected to this effort" to influence the election, Salgado said.

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Google also found only a limited number of YouTube and Gmail accounts that it said could possibly be linked to Russia's alleged effort to sway the US vote, Salgado said.

"On YouTube, we found 18 channels with approximately 1,100 videos that were uploaded by individuals who we suspect are associated with the effort and that contained political content," he said.

He added, however, that nearly all the videos had low view counts, with only 3 percent of them — or 33 videos in total — getting more than 5,000 views.

Similarly, Google found only a "limited number of Gmail accounts" that may have been opened for the sole purpose of creating social media profiles, Salgado said.

The company credits its own safeguards for the "relatively limited amount" of suspect activity uncovered on its platforms, he added.

Representatives of Google, Twitter and Facebook are due to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee later on Tuesday as part of the Congressional investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Russia vehemently denies interfering in the US election, calling the allegations absurd.

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