Google's Threat Analysis Group has terminated thousands of accounts associated with a group known as "Dragonbridge" or "Spamouflage Dragon" that disseminated pro-Chinese disinformation on various platforms.
According to the tech giant, Dragonbridge gets new Google Accounts from bulk account sellers, and at times they have even used accounts previously used by financially motivated actors repurposed for posting disinformation videos and blogs, reports BleepingComputer.
Moreover, the report said that Google last year shut down more than 50,000 Dragonbridge accounts across YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, in total, 1,00,960 accounts have been closed since the influence network was first spotted.
However, despite its size and volume of content production, the Chinese influence operation has little to no engagement from real viewers, said the report. "Most Dragonbridge activity is low-quality content without a political message, populated across many channels and blogs.
However, a small fraction of Dragonbridge accounts also post about current events with messaging that pushes pro-China views," Google TAG's Zak Butler and Jonas Taege were quoted as saying.
When it was taken down last year, the vast majority of its YouTube channels had no subscribers, and more than 80 per cent of videos had fewer than 100 views. When Dragonbridge blogs were terminated in December, they had a very low engagement, with less than 10 views per post for nearly 95 per cent of posts, according to the report.
"In 2022, the overwhelming majority of Dragonbridge content Google disrupted never reached a real audience. Among the 53,177 channels, we disabled in 2022, 58 per cent had zero subscribers and 42 per cent of their videos had zero views.
About 83 per cent of those videos had fewer than 100 views," Butler and Taege added.