It was only a matter of time before Google and its subsidiaries (most notably YouTube) would jump on the “Russia hacked the election” narrative concocted by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta.
Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc., (Google’s parent company), Eric Schmidt was after all advising the Hillary Clinton campaign.
What took Schmidt and Google execs so long to join in on the never ending litigation of the US presidential election, that Hillary lost almost one year ago?
Via The Daily Caller…
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, wanted to be “head outside advisor” to the Hillary Clinton campaign, according to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in an email released by WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has continued to reveal Schmidt’s cozy relationship with the Clinton campaign. In a previously leaked email, a memo showed that Schmidt was working directly with the Clinton campaign on setting up various backend features to their website.
In an April 2014 email from Podesta to Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook discussing the launch of Hillary’s campaign, Podesta described how much Schmidt wanted to work with the campaign.
“I met with Eric Schmidt tonight. As David reported, he’s ready to fund, advise recruit talent, etc. He was more deferential on structure than I expected. Wasn’t pushing to run through one of his existing firms. Clearly wants to be head outside advisor, but didn’t seem like he wanted to push others out,” Podesta wrote. He added, “Clearly wants to get going. He’s still in DC tomorrow and would like to meet with you if you are in DC in the afternoon. I think it’s worth doing. You around? If you are, and want to meet with him, maybe the four of us can get on the phone iN the am.”
Cheryl Mills was copied on the email and let Podesta know that Mook wouldn’t be able to make the call that day because he was in Australia. Mook said that she was correct but would love to talk to Schmidt eventually.
Podesta wrote back: “The thing [Schmidt] really pressed me hard on was geography. Very committed to the idea that this be done in a city where young coders would want to be, preferably outer borough NYC. Thought No Cal was priced out of the market and too into itself. Thought DC lacked talent in this arena.”
Zerohedge reports “Et tu, Google?”, as Google has reportedly discovered that Russia-linked operatives deceptively purchased tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of advertising on YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail and the company’s DoubleClick ad network.
According to the Jeff Bezos, CIA funded Washington Post, Google’s discovery is “significant” because the advertisements in question do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook, which the paper says suggests that Kremlin disinformation efforts were much broader than lawmakers and Silicon Valley had believed.
Google had previously played down the possibility that nefarious Russian agitators could’ve slipped past the company’s sophisticated monitoring techniques. The company has been criticized for being less willing to cooperate with Congressional investigators than Facebook and Twitter.
As Zerohedge rightly points out, given the scant nature of said evidence, this suggests that reports of a separate interference campaign should be taken with a grain of salt.
Google previously downplayed the problem of Russian meddling on its platforms. Last month, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told The Washington Post that the company is “always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we’ve seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms.”
Nevertheless, Google launched an investigation into the matter, as Congress pressed technology companies to determine how Russian operatives used social media, online advertising, and other digital tools to influence the 2016 presidential contest and foment discord in U.S. society.
The funny part about this latest Russian election meddling discovery by Google is that fact that the ads purchased on the Google network amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. Remember the Clinton Campaign spent billions of dollars on advertising, and had Google’s top executive working for her campaign. Those Russian trolls sure can stretch a buck.
Google declined to provide a comment for this story. The people familiar with its investigation said that the company is looking at a set of ads that cost less than $100,000 and that it is still sorting out whether all of the ads came from trolls or whether some originated from legitimate Russian accounts.
The Google probe is still in its early stages, as Google says they used data provided by Twitter to link some of the individuals operating pro-Russia twitter accounts to purchases of ads on its own platform.
Google discovered the Russian presence on its platforms by siphoning data from another technology company, Twitter, the people familiar with Google’s investigation said. Twitter offers outsiders the ability to access a small amount of historical tweets for free, and charges developers for access to the entire Twitter firehose of data stemming back to 2006.
Google downloaded the data from Twitter and was able to link Russian Twitter accounts to other accounts that had used Google’s services to buy ads, the people said. This was done without the explicit cooperation of Twitter, the people said.
Google’s probe is still in its early stages, the people said. The number of ads posted and the number of times those ads were clicked on could not be learned. Google is continuing to examine its own records and is also sharing data with Facebook. Twitter and Google have not cooperated with one another in their investigations.
Google and Twitter working together to help Democrats continue to push the distraction that is “Russian election meddling.”
Some of the ads expressed support for Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the Green party candidate Jill Stein. Others appear to have been aimed at fostering division in United States by promoting anti-immigrant sentiment and racial animosity.
Facebook recently handed over 3,000 ads identified as propaganda intended to disrupt the US election to Congress for review. Twitter has identified 200 “fake” accounts with pro-Russia ties, a group that includes accounts for Russia-funded English-language media organization Russia Today. And now Google has confirmed that the Russians were also active on its platform.
Since Facebook first acknowledged that a Russia-linked troll farm had been concealing its identity and purchasing ads under the auspices of fake US groups, leaks describing the content of the ads showed they targeted swing state voters, and also contained pro- and anti-Muslim and Black Lives Matter messages that were purportedly intended to provoke racist or anti-muslim sentiment, thereby “sowing dischord” in the US election process.
As the hysteria about this ostensible election meddling reaches a fever pitch, executives for Facebook and Twitter have agreed to testify before Congressional investigators on Nov. 1. Google has not said whether it will accept a similar invitation to do so.
We now wait for the deluge of outraged comments from Democratic politicians blasting Google for not doing more to screen their customers.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.