Google is embarrassed by the Russian dollars going to them to disrupt American elections. But that problem isn’t going to go away, no matter what they say.
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Security Council meeting in the Novo-Ogaryov residence outside Moscow, Russia on Monday, June 26, 2017. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Especially for Google, they’re not at all equipped to deal with this problem, as widely reported and covered in the past, including at RedState:
Google has discovered it sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of online ads to Russian-linked actors trying to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to The Washington Post….
“We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies, and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries.”
This quote from the Hill details the entire problem, and why Google will be vulnerable to this for the foreseesable future. Even more so than Facebook, Google tries to remove human intervention from their processes as much as possible. Note their reaction is to use researchers, not staff.
In the old days, when you bought an ad with a newspaper, television, or radio, the ad would be seen before it was published or broadcast. Someone, or multiple layers of people, would have to approve the ad as appropriate to be shown.
But with Google, their goal is to ensure nobody sees it between when the buyer puts down money for the ad, and when the ad is shown to readers. Just as with Youtube, Google is relying on artificial intelligence technology to do its filtering.
AI is pretty good, and picks up patterns humans might not spot. But AIs are a long way from understanding implications and tone of language, in a way that humans will instantly spot. As long as Google is going to rely on computers to combat a campaign of human agitation and propaganda from Russian agents, they are going to lose and lose badly.
Facebook needs to worry about this, too. They do use human screening, but they’ve also been bitten by the heavy use of automated systems and markets, such as with the Nazi targeting scandal. These companies are ripe for being exploited by state-backed hostile actors, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.