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Google shutters more than 200 YouTube channels amid Hong Kong protests

Google shutters more than 200 YouTube channels amid Hong Kong protests
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Pro-democracy protestors block the entrance to the terminals at Hong Kong’s international airport on August 13, 2019.

Manan Vatsyayana | AFP | Getty Images

Google axed 210 YouTube channels after it found they had been tied to misinformation about Hong Kong protesters, the company announced Thursday.

This comes days after Twitter and Facebook said they would suspend nearly 1,000 accounts that were linked to a state-backed disinformation campaign originating from inside China. It also comes after Google and its video platform face scrutiny from lawmakers regarding its ability to control misinformation that goes viral on its site, particularly as the 2020 presidential elections near.

“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,” Shane Huntley, director of software engineering for Google Security’s Threat Analysis Group said in a blog post.

“We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations.”

Google stopped short of explicitly blaming the Chinese government for the misleading accounts.


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