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Photo: AP file

Google sold "tens of thousands" of dollars worth ads to Russian agents across several of its platforms, including Google search, Gmail, and the company's DoubleClick ad network, according to a report from The Washington Post.

Why it matters: We knew that this type of behavior wouldn't be exclusive to Facebook, and that the Russian-bought Facebook and Twitter ads would be the beginning of more to come.

That's because Google, like Facebook and Twitter, uses a self-serve ad platform that allows anyone to buy ads through an automated system that's not always reviewed by a human before they go live.

The report says that the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated group that bought ads on Facebook, which means that the scope of Russian influence in the campaign is likely bigger than what we already know. People familiar with Google's investigation tell the Post that Google discovered the Russian ad buys on its platforms by siphoning data from Twitter.

In response to the Russian ads revelation, Facebook is telling advertisers more types of advocacy ads, ones targeted to people based on politics, religion, etc., will now be reviewed by humans before going live, which may delay the ad-buying process for some marketers. Google did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the report.

For context, Google puts out a bad ads report annually. In 2016, it says it took down 1.7 billion ads that violated its policies. Most of these ads were spammy, click-bait schemes to get users to buy crappy products, but the company also said that it reviewed 550 sites in November and December that they thought pushed deceptive content, including mimicking news organizations to look authoritative and real — 340 were punished, and 200 permanently banned.

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.