In brief: YouTube has announced it has disabled 210 channels that were working in a coordinated effort to spread misinformation about the Hong Kong protests.
On Monday, it was reported that Twitter was running ads from the Chinese government-backed Xinhua news agency that attacked the Hong Kong protesters, but the platform quickly said it would ban ads from state-backed media companies. Additionally, both Twitter and Facebook have suspended thousands of active accounts that tried to discredit the protests.
“These accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” Twitter said.
Now, YouTube has also removed accounts for engaging in the same activities. “Earlier this week, as part of our ongoing efforts to combat coordinated influence operations, we disabled 210 channels on YouTube when we discovered channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong,” wrote Shane Huntley, from Google’s Threat Analysis Group. “This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”
Unlike Twitter, however, YouTube doesn’t plan to change its advertising policies for state-controlled media outlets, though it did tell Reuters that it would soon be expanding its labeling of state-backed media outlets in the region.
The protests began as opposition to a bill proposed by the Hong Kong government, which would have allowed the extradition of criminals incarcerated in Hong Kong to China. While the bill was suspended on June 15, pro-democracy demonstrations have continued.
YouTube has refused to release details on what content was uploaded to the now-disabled accounts, so we don’t know if the same videos appeared on every channel.
Image credit: Studio Incendo via flickr