210 YouTube channels have suspended by Google for it says they have been being used as part of a “coordinated” campaign to affect public opinion in regards to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The move follows social media channel Twitter’s suspension earlier this week of nearly 1,000 accounts for violating the company’s “platform manipulation policies” it mentioned were tied to Chinese state actors attempting to undermine the Hong Kong protests. Facebook stated that it was also taking down several pages and accounts for coordinated inauthentic conduct as a part of a small network that began in China and focused on Hong Kong.
In a report, Google, which owns YouTube and whose parent company is Alphabet Inc., mentioned its decision to suspend the channels was “to fight coordinated affect operations,” however it stopped short of directly blaming the Chinese government.
It mentioned the channels “behaved in a coordinated method while uploading movies related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong,” including that their discovery “was in line with current observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”
They discovered the use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of those accounts and another exercise generally associated with coordinated affect operations, the statement mentioned.
Meanwhile, Beijing has thought in, warning protesters that they are “playing with fire” and making it realize that China would respond with force if it is necessary. Chinese state media has released video of armored personnel carriers taking part in drills performed by the Chinese People’s Armed Police within the nearby city of Shenzhen.
China’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Geng Shuang, answering on Tuesday to the reviews that Twitter and Facebook had suspended accounts over the alleged affect campaign, said he believed “people around the world will come to their judgment about what occurs in Hong Kong and what is the reality.”
The news from Google appears as a bipartisan group of legislators on Capitol Hill warns that China is utilizing social media platforms to manipulate public view over Hong Kong.
Praising social media companies Facebook and Twitter for their quick action, California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, informed the newspaper that They know from experience that social media platforms could be powerful engines for spreading false information online with real-world consequences.