Outbrain, the ad platform that puts those awful, ubiquitous click-baity links below and on the sides of websites, is looking into whether Russia used its technology to tamper with the 2016 election. According to BuzzFeed, the company is currently conducting an investigation into whether Russia bought any ads to spread false information. Outbrain says its content reaches over 550 million visitors each month.
Already, Facebook, Google, and Twitter have confirmed they are working with investigators to look into the impact of Russian-bought political ads. As I wrote last week, with the big advertising platforms being scrutinized, this leaves an opening for other smaller platforms that perhaps weren’t as likely to have been targeted by foreign entities.
Still, if Outbrain does find evidence of Russian-bought political ads, it could indicate that the scope of this scandal is even bigger than originally thought.
Update: Outbrain has provided Fast Company with this statement:
“After a thorough investigation, Outbrain has found no evidence of bad actors using our platform to influence elections. Given the seriousness of this issue and out of an abundance of caution, we proactively undertook this effort over the course of many weeks to ensure we got it right. Outbrain has always been dedicated to combating fake content, and we remain vigilant in fighting those who attempt to misuse our platform.”