Updated Aug 19, 2019

Twitter bans advertising from "state-controlled news media entities"

Tens of thousands take to the streets of Hong Kong in a rally in Victoria Park, Aug, 18. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter announced Monday that it would no longer accept advertising from "state-controlled news media entities" after finding that more than 900 accounts originating from inside China have been part of a coordinated effort to undermine political protests in Hong Kong.

The big picture: Hong Kong saw its 11th straight week of pro-democracy protests over the weekend as the city pushes back on what it views as encroachment by the Chinese government on its autonomy. The accounts, which Twitter said were part of a "coordinated state-backed operation," sought to delegitimize the protest movement.

  • Twitter is currently banned in mainland China. The platform says most of the accounts gained access through VPNs.
  • The social network says the account violated its platform manipulation policies, which prohibit spam, coordinated activity, fake accounts and ban evasion.
  • Per BuzzFeed News' Ryan Mac, "tax-payer-backed entities with independent oversight like the BBC, CBC, and NPR" will still be allowed to run ads on Twitter.
  • Facebook also said Monday that it removed 7 pages, 3 groups and 4 accounts "involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong."

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Sara Fischer: Coordinated misinformation campaigns have often been used by governing bodies against their own populations. Twitter found examples of this with Saudi Arabia's government last year, and Facebook found examples in Myanmar as well.

Go deeper: Pence suggests Hong Kong clampdown could prevent China trade deal

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
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Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.