Beyond Facebook: Kremlin Sowed Disinformation During U.S. Election on Google, Gmail and YouTube

Google discovered Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars planting fake news on multiple platforms

File: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Vladivostok, Russia, 2012
Mikhail Metzel / AP

Google has discovered that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on YouTube, Google search, Gmail and other outlets, The Washington Post reported on Monday. 

The ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook, which may indicate a broader Russian online disinformation effort, the Post said. Google runs the world's largest online advertising business and YouTube is the world's largest online video site. 

On Sunday, the Daily Beast revealed that the Kremlin recruited black video bloggers who claimed to speak "a word of truth" to African Americans. They called the Clintons "serial killers" and defended Donald Trump's reputation.

In one November YouTube video, the two announced: “We, the black people, we stand in one unity. We stand in one to say that Hillary Clinton is not our candidate." They went on to say that Clinton “is going to stand for the Muslim. We don’t stand for her."

According to the Daily Beast, Williams and Kalvin’s material was removed from Facebook in August after being identified as a Russian propaganda account. Though their Twitter account was also suspended, their YouTube page is still active. 

The news comes amid reports that Facebook will give Congress information on the election-time activities of thousands of Russian-linked accounts that spread so-called fake news reports and even organized events on U.S. soil on divisive issues that touched the heart of Donald Trump’s message.

Russian operatives used fake Facebook profiles to organize anti-immigrant events in the U.S., including one specific Idaho rally in August of 2016, according to a report from the Daily Beast.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the company had "shut down several promoted events" following last week's announcement from Facebook that operatives in Russia spent $100,000 on ads to influence opinions in the United States.