Two of the biggest social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, are suspending some accounts that are linked to a Chinese government propaganda. They targeted the state-sponsored campaign at Hong Kong protesters.
Twitter says it suspended 936 accounts that attempted to deliberately sow political discord in Hong Kong. It also said it proactively suspended another 200,000 spam accounts even before they became active.
Apparently, these accounts targeted protests in Hong Kong. They have been demonstrating for weeks against the newly introduced extradition bill. Twitter says the accounts are a part of a state-backed information operation by the Hong Kong government. The social media company also says users created the accounts using VPN services.
Twitter also announced that it will ban government-sponsored media outlets from making paid ads on the platform. Earlier reports suggested that Chinese government media outlets were running Facebook and Twitter ads that termed protesters violent.
On Facebook’s part, they revealed that they had suspended a network of Hong Kong anti-protest accounts, pages and groups. The accounts reportedly compared the protesters to ISIS fighters and cockroaches. Facebook said it took proactive steps to remove five accounts, seven pages and three groups that had reached more than 17,000 users.
Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher in a statement said, “Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government.”
“We’re taking down these Pages, Groups and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted. As with all of these takedowns, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action,” he added.