Google shares news: tech giant closes YouTube, Google+ accounts with links to Iran

Google shares news: tech giant closes YouTube, Google+ accounts with links to Iran
Written by:
Ilona Billington
March 11, 2020

Google shares closed little changed in the US Thursday, as the tech giant shared the news that it had closed numerous YouTube, Google+ and Blogger accounts with links to Iran. The update follows a similar one from Facebook earlier this week and was supported by information from cybersecurity group, FireEye.

Google shares ended the US Thursday trading session just 0.05% lower at $1,221.16. The stock is currently trading in the green in out-of-hours activity.

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Google shuts down political propaganda accounts

Google said Thursday that it had been working hard with FireEye and other online security consultants, to identify accounts with suspicious activity. That had led to it closing 39 YouTube accounts, 13 Google+ accounts and 6 Blogger accounts.

“We identified and terminated a number of accounts linked to the IRIB organization that disguised their connection to this effort, including while sharing English-language political content in the US,” Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs for Google wrote in an update.

“Our investigations on these topics are ongoing and we will continue to share our findings with law enforcement and other relevant government entities in the US and elsewhere, as well as with others in the industry,” Walker wrote.

Suspicious activity began in 2017

After sharing the news that Google had shutdown the offending accounts, Walker also said that inauthentic activity relating to the accounts, including the sharing of propaganda, could have begun as early as January 2017.

“We can’t go into all the technical details without giving away information that would be helpful to others seeking to abuse our platforms.” Walker wrote.

He adds that by identifying a variety different types of information related to Google and YouTube accounts, they were able to identify “that this effort [activity on the closed accounts] was carried out as part of the overall operations of the IRIB organization, since at least January 2017.”