Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) took down more than 20,000 YouTube channels in the first quarter of 2023, according to New Bulletin. It said the channels were cleared as part of the team’s investigation into “coordinated influence operation campaigns” linked to various countries.
According to the data, about 18,000 of the total channels are linked to China, where thousands of channels were removed during each month of the first quarter. Google took down 6,930 YouTube channels in March as part of its investigation, saying “these channels uploaded spammy content in Chinese, mostly about music, entertainment and lifestyle.”
“A very small subset of China and US foreign affairs are uploaded in Chinese and English. These findings are consistent with our previous reports,” the Google Tag Team added.
The bulletin also makes several mentions of Russia, where the threat analysis group took down just over 1,000 YouTube channels in the first three months. The team removed 1,088 channels linked to Azerbaijan in the month of January and also found influence operations linked to Poland, Iran, Albania, Israel, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc.
In addition to YouTube channels, the Google tag has blocked a number of AdSense accounts, blogger blogs, and domains from appearing in Google News and Discover feeds. The team said it received leads from Mandiant, LinkedIn and Graphika that helped it during various parts of the investigation.