Google blocked more than 50,000 pieces of content shared by pro-China accounts last year across various platforms like YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, the company said. Sharing the information on their blog site, Google’s Threat Analysis Group, on Thursday, said they have blocked the group, alternatively known as ‘Spamouflage Dragon’ and ‘Dragonbridge’ that usually share contents, which are pro-China views and included a higher volume of content critical of the US. The group has primarily targeted Chinese speakers, but some narratives were in English and other languages, it said in a statement. Threat Analysis Group’s (TAG) mission is to understand and counter serious threats, including actors engaged in coordinated information operations (IO). TAG further stated that they have terminated over 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts in the IO network’s lifetime. Despite their scale and profuse content production, DRAGONBRIDGE achieved practically no organic engagement from real viewers in 2022, the majority of DRAGONBRIDGE channels had 0 subscribers when Google disrupted them, and over 80 per cent of DRAGONBRIDGE videos had fewer than 100 views. In the rare cases where DRAGONBRIDGE content did receive engagement, it was almost entirely inauthentic, coming from other DRAGONBRIDGE accounts and not from genuine users. Comment activity was mostly from other DRAGONBRIDGE accounts. “Blogger engagement metrics also show almost no authentic audience for DRAGONBRIDGE’s blogs. For blogs terminated in December, nearly 95 per cent of DRAGONBRIDGE blogs received 10 or fewer views, and over 96 per cent received no comments,” the statement read. “The DRAGONBRIDGE Channels and blog post promotes pro-China messages and criticizes the US. The channel’s pro-China content included narratives praising China’s pandemic response, criticism of pro-democracy protests, and significantly in 2022, more strident support for unification with Taiwan,” it added. Even they shifted some of its focus toward White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she made a visit to Taiwan. In 2022, DRAGONBRIDGE increased its focus on and sharpened its criticism of the US with posts mostly in Mandarin, English, and other languages. “In 2022, DRAGONBRIDGE also posted narratives claiming the US was responsible for stoking tensions abroad and meddling in the domestic affairs of other countries. DRAGONBRIDGE’s US-focused narratives portrayed US society and democracy in a negative light, cycling through political and social narratives that evolved with the headlines. In 2022, Google removed DRAGONBRIDGE content on topics such as the US Covid-19 response, racial inequality, political divisions, inflation, and other controversial topics,” according to the statement. “In the leadup 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 short news clips. One video, previously reported by Mandiant, attempted to cast voting in the US as ineffective and a waste of time,” it added further. Threat Analysis Group’s mission understood and countered serious threats, including actors engaged in coordinated information operations and terminated 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts.
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