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YouTube shuts 210 channels trying to sow political discord in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is in the grip of an unprecedented political crisis

Reuters 

Hong Kong Protests
File photo of Hong Kong protests

on Thursday said it disabled 210 channels that appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in

The action by the Google-owned service came this week as Twitter and Facebook accused the Chinese government of backing a social media campaign to discredit Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and sow political discord in the city.Reuters

"We disabled 210 channels on when we discovered channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong," Shane Huntley of Google's security threat analysis group said in an online post.

"This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter." Twitter and Facebook announced Monday they had suspended nearly 1,000 active accounts linked to a coordinated influence campaign, while Twitter said it had shut down about 200,000 more before they could inflict any damage.


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"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, referring to the active accounts it shut down.

Facebook said some of the posts from accounts it banned compared the protesters in with Islamic State group militants, branded them "cockroaches" and alleged they planned to kill people using slingshots.

Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous southern Chinese city and one of the world's most important financial hubs, is in the grip of an unprecedented political crisis that has seen millions of people take to the streets demanding greater freedoms. China's communist rulers have warned they may be prepared to deploy force to quell the nearly three months of unrest, and likened violent protesters to "terrorists".

First Published: Fri, August 23 2019. 21:21 IST
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