Google deletes 58 accounts with ties to Iran

BY LEAH WILLIAMS
Posted on AUG 01, 2019

The update follows similar take-downs by Facebook and Twitter, which revealed calculated misinformation campaigns by Russian and Iranian accounts.

Google Inc. has deleted 58 accounts with ties to Iran from YouTube and other sites, the company said in a blog post, broadening the scope of state-sponsored misinformation campaigns that have been detected and removed from major social networks.

The tech company "identified and terminated" 39 English-language YouTube accounts, 13 Google+ accounts and 6 Blogger blogs that were found to be engaged in "politically motivated phishing," Kent Walker, vice president for global affairs, said in the blog post.
Accounts were found to have ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

"In recent months, we've detected and blocked attempts by state-sponsored actors in various countries to target political campaigns, journalists, activists, and academics located around the world," he said.

The update follows similar take-downs by Facebook and Twitter, which earlier this week revealed calculated misinformation campaigns by Russian and Iranian accounts.

According to CNBC, major tech firms have been ramping up content reviews and increasingly removing bad actors in light of widespread election meddling and abuse of social platforms.

Google released in a statement, "We've invested in robust systems to detect phishing and hacking attempts, identify influence operations launched by foreign governments, and protect political campaigns from digital attacks through our Protect Your Election program."

"Our Threat Analysis Group, working with our partners at Jigsaw and Google's Trust & Safety team, identifies bad actors, disables their accounts, warns our users about them, and shares intelligence with other companies and law enforcement officials," Google further added.

Facebook said last month it had discovered coordinated "inauthentic behavior" surrounding the midterm elections in November.

The Iranian interference on Google began as early as January 2017, Walker said, and "was carried out as part of the overall operations of the IRIB organization.