Updates from Threat Analysis Group (TAG)
TAG Bulletin: Q1 2021
Threat Analysis Group

TAG Bulletin: Q1 2021

This bulletin includes coordinated influence operation campaigns terminated on our platforms in Q1 2021. It was last updated on April 20, 2021.

January

  • We terminated 4 YouTube channels and 1 advertising account as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Ukraine. This campaign uploaded content in Russian pertaining to current events in Kazakhstan and critical of European Union policies toward Moldova.

  • We terminated 5 blogs as part of our investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Morocco. This campaign uploaded content in Arabic that was critical of the Algerian government. This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Facebook.

  • We terminated 5 YouTube channels as part of our investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Brazil. This campaign was linked to a PR firm named AP Exata Intelligence and uploaded content in Portuguese expressing support for several mayoral candidates in Brazil. This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Facebook.

  • We terminated 6 YouTube channels as part of our investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Kyrgyzstan. The campaign uploaded content in Kyrgyz critical of the former President Almazbek Atambayev and the opposition leader Adakhan Madumarov. This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Facebook.

  • We terminated 3 advertising accounts as part of our investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Egypt. This campaign was linked to a PR firm named Mubashier and uploaded content in Arabic supportive of the Russian government across several countries in the Middle East.

  • We terminated 1 YouTube channel as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian on current events in Ukraine.

  • We terminated 1 YouTube channel, 2 advertising accounts and 1 mobile developer account as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian on such topics as the U.S. election and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

  • We terminated 5 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian on such topics as the annexation of Crimea and the Syrian civil war.

  • We terminated 2 YouTube channels and 1 advertising account as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian on historical events in Afghanistan, Armenia and Ukraine.

  • We terminated 2 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian on such topics as the U.S. current events and Alexei Navalny political rallies.

  • We terminated 3 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Iran. This campaign uploaded content in English and was amplifying narratives on regional topics such as Israel, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and the war in Yemen. We received leads from FireEye that supported us in this investigation.

  • We terminated 2,946 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China. These channels mostly uploaded spammy content in Chinese about music, entertainment, and lifestyle. A very small subset uploaded content in Chinese and English about the U.S. response to COVID-19 and growing U.S. political divisions. We received leads from Graphika that supported us in this investigation. These findings are consistent with our previous reports in the Q3 and Q4 TAG bulletins.

February

  • We terminated 5 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Iran. This campaign uploaded content in English, Farsi, and Bahasa Indonesian on several topics including criticism of Israel and the U.S. election. This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Twitter.

  • We terminated 5 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian specific to narratives around the Russian military. This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Twitter.
  • We terminated 938 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China. These channels mostly uploaded spammy content in Chinese about music, entertainment, and lifestyle. A very small subset uploaded content in Chinese and English about the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout and current events. We received leads from FireEye and Graphika that supported us in this investigation. These findings are consistent with our previous reports in the Q3 and Q4 TAG bulletins.

March

  • We terminated 13 YouTube channels as part of our investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Morocco. This campaign uploaded content in Arabic that was supportive of Morocco’s government and discussed issues related to regional intelligence agencies as well as Moroccan ownership of the Western Sahara region. This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Facebook.
  • We terminated 3 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian, French, German, English and Spanish about the conflict in Syria, historical footage of the war in Afghanistan, and the civil war in Eastern Ukraine.
  • We terminated 34 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia. This campaign uploaded content in Russian that was critical of the protests in support of Alexei Navalny.

  • We terminated 33 YouTube channels and 2 advertising accounts as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Myanmar. This campaign uploaded content in Burmese about the military coup in Myanmar.

  • We terminated 682 YouTube channels and 2 advertising accounts as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China. These channels mostly uploaded spammy content in Chinese about music, entertainment, and lifestyle. A very small subset uploaded content in Chinese and English about China’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts and social issues in the U.S. These findings are consistent with our previous reports in the Q3 and Q4 TAG bulletins.