WASHINGTON — Google deleted 58 Iran-linked accounts from YouTube and other Google sites, the tech company announced Thursday, in the latest sign that foreign agents are continuing to exploit U.S. tech companies in information warfare.
Google said today it identified and deleted 39 YouTube channels, six Blogger accounts and 13 Google+ accounts that were sharing English-language political content in the U.S. while masking ties to Iran’s sole radio and TV broadcaster. That organization, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, is widely viewed as state-run.
The reveal came in a blog post by Google’s senior vice president of global affairs Kent Walker, who said the company has already briefed U.S. lawmakers and law enforcement on the matter. The news follows similar announcements earlier this week from Facebook and Twitter.
Google also announced that it detected and removed 42 YouTube accounts associated with Russian troll farm the Internet Research Agency. Those accounts too were posting English-language political content. Google worked with cybersecurity firm FireEye, which also tipped Facebook and Twitter off to nefarious activity.
Facebook said Tuesday it took down 652 pages and accounts originating in Iran over “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Twitter said it also identified and suspended hundreds of accounts associated with an influence campaign, noting that many of the accounts originated in Iran.
That action comes on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement Tuesday that U.S. candidates and political groups are facing a barrage of attempted cyberattacks from hackers, including Russians implicated in attempted interference with the 2016 election.