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New efforts to disrupt DRAGONBRIDGE spam activity

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For anticipated events, DRAGONBRIDGE creates content in advance, allowing them to quickly disseminate large volumes in a short timeframe around the event. We observed this with large volumes of content posted in the lead up to the 2024 Taiwan general election.

DRAGONBRIDGE content spiked ahead of the 2024 general election in Taiwan

DRAGONBRIDGE content has targeted Taiwan for years, including pro-unification narratives and surges of activity in response to news events. TAG observed a surge of activity around the general election held on January 13, 2024. As is typical with DRAGONBRIDGE, the volume of content was large but unsuccessful in gaining traction with authentic viewers.

The videos were typical of DRAGONBRIDGE’s style featuring robotic voiceovers, stock footage and publicly available images. Voiceovers and text overlays in the videos had awkward phrasings suggestive of machine translation. In addition to targeting Taiwan’s outgoing President, Tsai Ing-wen, some content included a direct call to action, with a song with lyrics telling people not to vote for Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party.

In the days prior to Taiwan’s general election on January 13, 2024, DRAGONBRIDGE posted thousands of videos and comments on YouTube using synthetic audio and avatars promoting a false “secret history” document critical of the outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen. The IO campaign had limited reach, with practically no engagement from organic users, and YouTube terminated channels tied to the activity. The campaign received coverage in the Taiwanese press, which noted the low views of the content.

The video content featured AI-generated news hosts speaking to the camera in the style of a news broadcast. The production quality of the videos varied widely, with some appearing realistic at first glance. Other content was obviously computer animated and showed no attempt to masquerade as real video.

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