The plot thickens is what many would say at the reports coming out in the last few days. The Russian meddling in the US election did not result in the usual suspects this week, but rather into quite a few San Francisco behemoths of tech.
As we reported earlier, Facebook and Twitter would be called to appear before congress on 1 November.
Google yesterday confirmed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that it would be cooperating with those planned congressional inquiries. Although earlier this month Google had proudly told all that wanted to hear it had found no evidence of selling election-related ads to any Russian entities, the company had to withdraw that press release only two weeks later. This latest admission implies that Google is deepening its internal investigation into the matter.
Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg is coming under ever greater scrutiny in the matter, has shared details about their own Russian-operated profiles on its social network with Google, probably to align their legal defences for the upcoming congressional hearings.
Google is the worldwide dominant search and advertising player which can control company revenue through its algorithm and probably do the same for a political candidate. In the US, it carries a 90% market share for internet searches. The company expects to gain 35 billion dollars in advertisement revenue in 2017 as more companies, political candidates and action groups post their messages online via Google.
It is also the only company that sells more digital ads than Facebook, and furthermore carries the go-to place for videos with its YouTube service.
Google released a short statement on the issue: “We will of course cooperate with inquiries; we’re looking into how we can help with any relevant information.”
According to the company, some 0.5% of its searches relate to fake news. Earlier this week, the EU also called on the three tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter to clean up their fake news releases.