Google has deleted more than 2,500 youtube channels linked to China in what it says is a part of the platform’s “ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China.” This step has been taken to limit the spread of disinformation amid the panic caused by novel coronavirus and other events that happened this year.
The company said that these accounts, which were taken down between April and June, were being investigated for outside interference in the American political and social landscape.
It was found that these channels mostly posted “spammy non-political content,” but on certain instances, got very political. Now, since this is an election year, and Cambridge analytica and the accusations levied against Facebook back in 2016 set a precedent for all tech companies that allow outside interference in America’s political game, Google was quick to take down said channels.
Moreover, the grilling received by Sundar Pichai during the Congress session last week, where he was accused of letting politically dividing content persist on the company’s social media platforms was also a wake up call for Google.
Security against Chinese tech companies has recently become very important to the American government. . The country has sounded a horn for a war against Chinese companies (like TikTok) for breaching user privacy terms, and has been eyeing an opportunity to either ban the platform, or force ByteDance to divest its stake in it. Ever since the 2016 presidential election, when the Russian catastrophe occurred, the tech companies, as well as the government, have been taking steps to ‘combat online propaganda.’
The Reuters report also added that some of these channels belonged to other countries, including Iran and Russia.