Google’s Eliminated Over 31,000 Chinese language YouTube Channels for Coordinated Affect Operations within the Final 7 Months

Google has revealed its newest TAG Bulletin report, which supplies an outline of all the coordinated affect operations that its workforce detected and shut down throughout its apps in Q1 2022.

And for essentially the most half, it appears fairly simple – 3 YouTube channels shut down in relation to efforts to criticize Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, an AdSense account linked to affect operations in Turkey, 42 YouTube channels and a pair of Advertisements accounts terminated as a part of an investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to Iraq.

However then there’s this:

“We terminated 4361 YouTube channels as a part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to China. These channels principally uploaded spammy content material in Chinese language about music, leisure, and life-style. A really small subset uploaded content material in Chinese language and English about China and U.S. international affairs. These findings are in step with our earlier stories.”

That looks as if lots proper? 4300 YouTube channels – not simply particular person movies – in a single month, is numerous content material.

However as YouTube notes, that’s really in keeping with earlier TAG stories.

Going again over its most up-to-date TAG updates, Google eliminated:

  • 5,460 YouTube channels in December, additionally linked to coordinated affect operations linked to China
  • 15,368 Chinese language YouTube channels in November
  • 3,311 YouTube channels in October
  • 1,217 in September
  • 1,196 in August
  • 850 in July

All of those are related to the identical investigation into coordinated affect operations linked to China, and all of them have the identical description because the one above, referring to “spammy content material” round leisure, with some notes on US/China affairs. That’s over 31,000 YouTube channels eliminated during the last seven months.

So what’s occurring? What, precisely, are these Chinese language affect operations trying to obtain, and are they gaining any traction via this broad-reaching YouTube push?

It appears, primarily based on Google’s description, that the primary goal of this effort is to first construct an viewers within the app with partaking, mild content material, earlier than then utilizing that attain to sprinkle in some pro-China sentiment, to be able to seed it amongst broader audiences.

That then allows the CCP, and/or associated teams, to doubtlessly sway public opinion via refined means, by gently nudging these viewers in the direction of a extra optimistic view of China’s actions.

That’s typically been China’s MO with its info operations – on Q and A platform Quora, for instance, there are lots of examples of individuals asking questions on China, solely to see glowingly optimistic replies from customers.

Evidently’s the modus operandi right here too, with Chinese language-originated teams looking for to construct audiences on YouTube to then set up distribution and dissemination chains for pro-China propaganda.

However it’s actually a big push, and it’s fascinating to notice simply how a lot China is ramping up its exercise over time. That seemingly means that it sees YouTube as a robust vector for affect, which additional underlines the significance of social platforms taking proactive, definitive steps to cease such packages earlier than they will acquire traction.

We’ve requested Google for more information on the specifics of those banned channels, and we’ll replace this publish if and once we hear again.

You’ll be able to learn Google’s newest TAG report here.

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