Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) terminated over 20,000 YouTube channels in the first quarter of 2023, according to its new bulletin. These channels were purged as part of the team's investigation into "coordinated influence operation campaigns" linked to various countries, it said.
As per the data, around 18,000 channels out of the total are linked to China, where thousands of channels were removed during each month of the first quarter. Google terminated 6,930 YouTube channels in March as part of its investigation, saying that "these channels mostly uploaded spammy content in Chinese about music, entertainment, and lifestyle."
"A very small subset uploaded content in Chinese and English about China and U.S. foreign affairs. These findings are consistent with our previous reports," the Google TAG team added.
Russia also has multiple mentions in the bulletin where the threat analysis group terminated just under a thousand YouTube channels during the first three months. The team removed 1,088 channels linked to Azerbaijan in the month of January and also found coordinated influence operations linked to Poland, Iran, Albania, Israel, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc.
In addition to YouTube channels, Google TAG also terminated a number of AdSense accounts, Blogger blogs, and blocked domains from appearing in Google News and Discover feeds. The team said it received leads from Mandiant, LinkedIn, and Graphika which helped it during different parts of the investigation.