Microsoft became the latest US tech company embroiled in the possible Russian meddling in the US Presidential elections of 2016. The Bill Gates company admitted to reporters that it was looking at its Bing search engine data to see if any ads targeted at PAC’s or trying to persuade voters on Microsoft-owned products or platforms were bought by Russian companies in 2016.
A Microsoft representative responded: “We take reports of misuse of our platform seriously. We are therefore investigating and if an inappropriate activity is found, we will take steps to minimize such misuse in the future”.
Just yesterday, Google had also admitted that it was widening its own internal investigation into such misuse of its products. Google stated that the task force it had instructed to look into these matters was now already finding ads sent via Gmail or ads on Youtube. Google runs the world’s largest online advertising business and dominates this market, and YouTube is the world’s largest online video site far ahead of any rival.
The Silicon Valley giant found that Russian agents spread disinformation across Google’s DoubleClick ad network.
Just like Microsoft, Google also released an additional statement on Monday: "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 greatest scrutiny so far has been avoided by Google and Microsoft but was targeted at rival Facebook. The social network admitted to 3,000 Russian-bought ads with Congressional investigators already and will appear before Congress by beginning of November
Facebook, in trying to limit the negative fallout, has calculated that those ads reached just 10 million of the 200 million US users that log onto the social network every day.