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Legal Matters

Google removes 58 accounts tied to Iran’s disinformation campaign from YouTube, other sites

Tehran, The search giant said in a blog post Thursday that it removed 58 accounts with ties to Iran from YouTube and other sites.

It follows similar takedowns by Facebook and Twitter, which earlier this week removed hundreds of accounts believed to be tied to an Iranian and Russian propaganda operations.

Google is the latest Silicon Valley giant to find new evidence of misinformation campaigns by Iranian accounts. The search giant said it took down 58 accounts with ties to Iran

Among the accounts Google deleted were 39 channels on YouTube that had 13,466 total US views, 13 Google+ accounts and six blogs on Blogger.

Google said it had identified evidence that these actors were associated with Iran's state broadcaster, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), which 'disguised their connection' to the influence operation.

The accounts are believed to have been engaging in 'politically-motivated phishing,' Kent Walker, Google's vice president for global affairs, wrote in the blog post.

'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,' Walker continued.

Technical data associated with the accounts was 'strongly linked' to the official IRIB IP address space, Google said.

The firm also identified that domain ownership information was tied to IRIB account information, while account metadata and subscriber information was 'strongly linked' to corresponding information associated with the IRIB, 'indicating common ownership and control.'

Google's announcement comes just days after Twitter and Facebook said they removed hundreds of accounts believed to be tied to Russian and Iranian misinformation campaigns

Earlier this week, Facebook and Twitter announced they'd removed hundreds of accounts related to Russian and Iranian misinformation campaigns.

Additionally, Microsoft said Tuesday it removed six domain addresses believed to be linked to Russian phishing attempts.

Facebook removed a total of 653 inauthentic pages, groups and accounts, while Twitter suspended 284 accounts linked to Iran.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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