Google blocks more than 50,000 accounts that promote Chinese propaganda

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Google blocked more than 50,000 pieces of content shared by pro-China accounts last year on various platforms including YouTube, Blogger and AdSense, the company said.

Sharing the information on its blog site, Google’s Threat Analysis Group said on Thursday it has blocked the group, known alternatively as ‘Spamouflage Dragon’ and ‘Dragonbridge’ who generally share content, which is pro-China views and includes a higher volume. US Critical Content

The group has mainly focused on Chinese speakers, but some narratives were in English and other languages, it said in a statement.

The Threat Analysis Group (TAG) mission is to understand and counter serious threats, including actors involved in Coordinated Information Operations (IO).

TAG further stated that they have terminated more than 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts in the lifetime of the IO network. Despite its scale and profuse content output, DRAGONBRIDGE achieved virtually no organic engagement from real viewers in 2022, most of DRAGONBRIDGE’s channels had 0 subscribers when Google discontinued them, and more than 80 percent of DRAGONBRIDGE’s videos had less than 100 views.

In the rare cases where DRAGONBRIDGE content did receive participation, it was almost completely fake, coming from other DRAGONBRIDGE accounts and not from genuine users. The comment activity came mainly from other DRAGONBRIDGE accounts.

“Blogger engagement metrics also show no genuine audience for DRAGONBRIDGE blogs. For blogs closed in December, nearly 95 percent of DRAGONBRIDGE blogs received 10 or fewer hits, and more than 96 percent received no hits at all. comments,” the statement read.

“DRAGONBRIDGE channels and blog post promote pro-China messaging and criticize the US. The channel’s pro-China content included narratives praising China’s response to the pandemic, criticism of pro-China protests, democracy and, significantly, in 2022, more strident support for unification with Taiwan,” he added.

They even shifted some of their focus to White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she paid a visit to Taiwan.

In 2022, DRAGONBRIDGE increased its focus and sharpened its criticism of the US with posts primarily in Mandarin, English, and other languages.

“In 2022, DRAGONBRIDGE also published narratives claiming that the US was responsible for stoking tensions abroad and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. DRAGONBRIDGE’s US-centric narratives portrayed the society and democracy in the US with the headlines. In 2022, Google removed content from DRAGONBRIDGE on topics such as the US response to covid-19, racial inequality, political divisions, inflation and other controversial topics” , according to the statement.

“In the run-up to the 2022 US midterm elections, Google terminated channels where DRAGONBRIDGE attempted to spread narratives highlighting US political divisions, the potential for political violence, and threats to democracy. They presented election narratives as if they were brief news clips. A video, previously reported by Mandiant, attempted to present voting in the US as ineffective and a waste of time,” he added.

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