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News > China

Youtube Bans 210 Pro-Beijing Channels Posting About Hong Kong

  • A screenshot of the first entry in YouTube when searching

    A screenshot of the first entry in YouTube when searching "Hong Kong", Friday August 23, 2019. | Photo: telesUR

Published 23 August 2019

Google joins Facebook and Twitter by banning inconvenient accounts to specific interests, implying state-backed information is some sort of a crime. 

YouTube’s parent company, Google, announced Thursday that they had disabled 210 channels engaged in posting pro-Beijing content related to Hong Kong’s protests. 

By doing so, Google joins Facebook and Twitter, which also informed Monday that hundreds of thousands of accounts were deleted from their platforms for similar reasons. Twitter published a statement in which first line they imply that state-backed information was some sort of a crime. 

According to Twitter’s version this 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.” 

Google’s reasoning was made public by a post on Shane Huntley’s blog from Threat Analysis Group, Google Security, and their point was that “channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong”, and that behavior was “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter”.

Twitter has not so far accused Chinese accounts of disseminating false news, this is in stark contrast to some large accounts supporting the Hong Kong protests which a recent AFP investigation found to be repeatedly sharing fake and old images purporting to show Chinese 'repression'. A large number of such posts were debunked, but nevertheless gained huge circulation within Hong Kong. 

Journalists and social movements around the world have been expressing their concerns about censorship in this platforms since they have not presented any evidence of desinformation or fake news to take this actions. 

The controversy follows months of protests in Hong Kong, in which opposition demonstrators have expressed anger at local authorities who they believe to be too close to Beijing. Despite being part of China, the area has a degree of autonomy from the mainland, and some do not identify with Beijing, with many protesters waving flags of the U.K. and the U.S., rather than the red flag of Hong Kong. Some leaders of the movement have also held meetings with U.S. diplomats and received large grants from the ‘National Endowment of Democracy’, another CIA linked organization.

Despite the protests receiving frequent coverage in Western media, a poll published Sunday showed a large majority of Hong Kong residents are against any split from China, a demand that is common among demonstrators.

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