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Experts Say Russia’s Meddling in 2016 Presidential Elections More Elaborate than Reported

Trump and Putin - Russia meddled in U.S. elections to help Trump

Evidence is emerging that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections may be more elaborate than is currently known and being reported. Election experts say it may have influenced the outcome of the elections.

This week, Google reported for the first time that Russian operatives may have exploited its various media platforms as part of an elaborate plan to hack into, manage and influence the U.S. elections.

Google said it found that Russians and other operatives working in concert with them, spent thousands of dollars to spread fake news and misinformation using its platforms including YouTube, Google Search, Gmail and DoubleClick, its advertising network.

RELATED: Senate Intel Committee Chiefs Contradict Trump: Russia’s Election Meddling Not a Hoax.

U.S. security and election experts believe the revelation by Google may just be the beginning as the Silicon Valley giant looks deeper into its data and uncover other ways Russia may have infiltrated its different platforms.

“This may just be the beginning. We are sure that as Google looks deeper it will find that the Russians did worse than they are reporting and when you add that to what we know happened at Facebook and Twitter, you begin to understand the scope of their influence on the 2016 presidential elections,” a national security expert told The Liberal Advocate News Monday. He spoke on condition of anonymity so he could speak freely.

“It’s a system. It’s not necessarily magic. It’s social media marketing at an expert level… This is very well executed,” Albright said in response to Google’s announcement.

On Monday, Oxford University researchers said they have found that fake Twitter and Facebook accounts linked to Russians were used to target U.S. active military personnel as well as veterans “mixing disinformation alongside other content already being read and shared widely among these communities.”

Facebook earlier admitted it found over 3,000 fake accounts linked to Russians. Last week, the social media titan reported it found 2,200 advertisements linked to other Russian operatives, not the Internet Research Agency organization it identified earlier.

“We also looked for ads that might have originated in Russia — even those with very weak signals of a connection and not associated with any known organized effort. This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian — even though they didn’t necessarily violate any policy or law. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads,” Facebook said.

Google’s announcement that Russians may have used its platforms is significant because the advertisements reportedly originated from different entities, not the organization that had previously been widely reported, signaling that the Russians may have used different organizations in an attempt to hide the origin of the ads.

Google earlier denied that Russia used its platform to influence the presidential elections with spokeswoman Andrea Faville saying Google 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.”

Despite the denials, U.S. lawmakers urged Google to look into the matter in their bid to determine how Russian trolls operated, the extent of their meddling, who helped them micro-target Americans and whether their goal was to help Trump win the presidency while discrediting Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Google refused to provide additional comments but experts believe that based on the provided information so far, the company believes Russians spent about $100,000 on its platforms during the election campaign.

One outside expert, Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University acknowledged last week that the influence of Russian disinformation on the presidential election was “much greater” than Google, Facebook and other social media companies are willing to acknowledge.

He said that because the Russian actions included posts shared hundreds of millions of times, it is possible that it had a huge influence on the election.

“It’s a system. It’s not necessarily magic. It’s social media marketing at an expert level… This is very well executed,” Albright said in response to Google’s announcement.

SEE ALSO: Trump Admin to Begin Repeal of Important Obama Climate Rule.

It has been widely reported that Russian president Vladimir Putin, hoping that electing Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, would allow him to remove sanctions imposed on his administration by the Obama administration, helped the current president win the election.

Despite denials by Trump and those close to him that Russia had any influence on the presidential elections or that Putin’s goal was to help elect him, evidence keeps mounting to the contrary.

Russia’s election meddling is being investigated by House and Senate committees, and special counsel Robert Mueller III. Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that investigations into Russian election influence would continue and that it could not exonerate Trump or those close to him in election meddling.

Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News




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