Oct 9, 2017

Report: Russians also bought ads on Google

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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 710,918 — Total deaths: 33,551 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 135,499 — Total deaths: 2,381 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health