Google Removes Another 6,000 YouTube Channels Linked to Chinese Influence Operations

In case you’re questioning why all of the fuss about TikTok and its potential connection to the CCP, and why are governments around the globe more and more wanting to ban the app?

That is one a part of it – each quarter, Google publishes its Threat Analysis Group (TAG) bulletin, which gives an outline of all of the malicious exercise that it’s detected and blocked throughout its platforms.

And it’s principally fairly easy – for instance, within the newest TAG bulletin for Q1 2023, there’s:

  • The termination of 87 YouTube channels as a part of an investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to Russia
  • The elimination of 40 YouTube channels as a part of an investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to Iran
  • The canceling of 1,088 YouTube channels as a part of an investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to Azerbaijan

All just about as you’d anticipate.

However then, within the final observe of the report, there’s this:

“We terminated 6,285 YouTube channels and 52 Blogger blogs as a part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to China. These channels and blogs principally uploaded spammy content material in Chinese about music, leisure and life-style. A really small subset uploaded content material in Chinese and English about China and U.S. international affairs.”

Each time, there are millions of YouTube channels eliminated which might be linked to affect operations popping out of China, that are a part of a broader investigation into a gaggle referred to as ‘Dragonbridge’ which appears to be like to unfold pro-China propaganda by means of western social media channels.

Actually, in 2022 alone, Google disrupted over 50,000 cases of Dragonbridge exercise, throughout YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, whereas Google additionally claims to have terminated over 100,000 Dragonbridge accounts in complete.

And observe, that is accounts and channels, not particular person movies or posts. The precise scale of the operation is huge, and it’s an enormous, ongoing effort for Google to detect and take away these operations, which appears to be like to seed pro-CCP content material throughout numerous channels.

It stands to purpose, then, that if Chinese affect operations are concentrating on western social networks, that they’re in all probability additionally wanting to use Chinese-owned platforms which have publicity to the west for a similar function – whereas tensions between western governments and China, over the struggle in Ukraine, spy balloons, and so on., are additionally not serving to TikTok’s case.

There’s a reasonably clear correlation between Chinese affect applications and social media platforms, and China has extra linkage to TikTok, one of many greatest leisure platforms on this planet, than some other.

It’s not the one purpose, however once you see the size of such efforts in Google’s reviews – and contemplate that this is just one platform, and their findings on this entrance – you will get some sense of the potential problem at hand that safety officers are warning in opposition to.

You possibly can take a look at Google’s newest TAG Bulletin here.

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