Microsoft looks at whether Russians bought USA ads on search engine

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The company has already provided the information of 3000 ads purchased from Russian fake accounts, for which more than $100,000 was spent by the Russian agency to Congress. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, paying $1 billion in cash and stock.

The discovery may indicate a broader Russian online disinformation effort.

Agents, whose accounts believed to be linked to the Russian government, bought search ads and traditional display ads worth of $4,700, revealed the source familiar to Google's investigation.

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US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a disinformation campaign aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidential election.

Google discovered ads worth of $53,000 with political materials bought from Russian internet IP, addresses, or currency. The revelation about Google is likely to fuel further scrutiny of the role that Silicon Valley technology giants may have unwittingly played during last year's election. Facebook found that suspected Russian operatives, working for a content farm called the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia, used its platforms to purchase politically divisive ads and content in a bid to influence Americans voting in the November 2016 presidential election.

In the first quarter of 2017, Facebook has spent over $3.2 million on lobbying, a "company record", according to Bloomberg, while Google spent almost $6 million in its second quarter. Google now runs the world's largest online advertising business. "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", a Google spokeswoman said on Monday. They posed as Black Lives Matter sympathisers who were critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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"We take reports of misuse of our platform seriously", the spokesman wrote to Gizmodo.

Investigators have previously concluded Russian companies with ties to the Kremlin bought at least $US100,000 ($128,912) in ads on Facebook, potentially reaching 10 million Americans.

Facebook also said it will begin to require more detailed documentation of those who want to announce announcements about the US Bundestag's choice and require them to confirm their business or organization.

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