Google, Microsoft and Facebook have all published a joint statement in which they all claim to have “credible” evidence that Russian bots are targeting users.
The statement from Google, which is the biggest search engine in the world, says it has “high confidence” that Russian social media “bots” are targeting US users.
“We’ve been tracking Russian activity on Facebook and Google for years, and this is the first time we’ve seen an actual piece of evidence that is credible,” the statement said.
“It’s hard to imagine that this is an isolated incident, and that it’s only a matter of time before Russian social networks are targeted again.”
These efforts have the potential to disrupt our way of life and the lives of millions of Americans.
The impact of these campaigns on the way we engage with each other is clear. “
The companies will continue to work with their partners to identify the types of information that are being spread, to help us better understand how to protect ourselves and our users,” Facebook said in the statement.
“The impact of these campaigns on the way we engage with each other is clear.
We will continue working with partners around the world to better protect people online.”
Microsoft said it was also “cautiously optimistic” about the Russian threat.
“This isn’t a new phenomenon, and the companies share the same belief that they can identify and disrupt this kind of activity, but it’s very different from what we saw in 2016,” the company said.
The companies also said that if they find that their services are being used by Russian botnets, they will take “every precaution to ensure they’re not using these tools to target our users”.
Microsoft has been running a campaign against fake news since March, and said in February it had detected over 100,000 fake news stories on Facebook that it had flagged as “fake”.
Microsoft said in March that it was deploying automated detection systems to detect and remove Russian propaganda in the US, and earlier this year said that it would launch a tool that could help companies track fake news on social media.
Facebook has said it had “anecdotal evidence” that Russia is using its services to spread false news and disinformation.
Google has said that Russian actors were targeting Facebook users with ads, and Microsoft has said there are “over 1 million Russian-backed pages and accounts on Facebook, and over 10 million accounts on Google”.
“In our research, we have seen evidence that Russia-linked Facebook accounts have been targeted in more than 3,000 ads on Facebook alone,” Microsoft said.
Microsoft said Facebook and Facebook were using a different tool to detect Russian bots.
Facebook and Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.