WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Google is closely examining any attempts to misuse its platforms and will provide all the necessary assistance to ongoing investigations into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, the company's spokesperson told Sputnik on Monday.
Earlier in the day, The Washington Post newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the company's probe, that Google had for the first time uncovered evidence that "Russian agents" used the company's platforms, such as YouTube, Google search, Gmail, to influence the US presidential election. The media outlet claimed that tens of thousands of dollars had been spend on ads, however, no further details on "the Russian agents" or specific proof has been provided.
"We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion. 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," the spokesperson said, commenting on the article, not confirming, however, any allegations described by the US media outlet.
Meanwhile, another tech giant The Microsoft Corporation is also considering to take steps if it is revealed that the company’s platforms were used for illegal actions, a Microsoft spokesperson told Sputnik answering the question about activities of the alleged “Russian agents.”
“We take reports of misuse of our platform seriously. We are therefore investigating and if inappropriate activity is found, we will take steps to minimize such misuse in the future” the Microsoft spokesperson said on late Monday providing no further details.Russia-linked entities bought $100,000 worth of political ads over the two-year period up to May of this year. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow was not behind the ads or even aware of their existence.
According to media reports, the US Senate Intelligence Committee has asked senior managers from Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify in front of the US Congress at a public hearing as part of the probe into Russia's alleged attempts to use social media to influence the election. The House Intelligence Committee also plans to invite tech companies for its own hearing this fall.
Russia has faced persistent allegations of having interfered in the 2016 US election, many of them suggesting that an information campaign took place on social media. Russian officials have denied meddling in other state's domestic affairs.