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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YouTube disables 210 channels linked to Hong Kong influence campaign

Secondary school students protest in Hong Kong. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Google, which owns YouTube, announced Thursday that it shut down more than 200 channels for spreading disinformation about Hong Kong, which has been overwhelmed by pro-democracy protests for nearly 12 weeks.

Driving the news: YouTube is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter, both of which flagged hundreds of similar accounts earlier this week. Twitter since announced that it will no longer permit advertising from "state-controlled news media entities."

Go deeperArrowAug 22, 2019

Social media platforms reveal China's disinformation reaching the West

Pro-democract protesters in Hong Kong. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

In the past week, Google, Twitter and Facebook each deactivated networks of accounts found to be waging Beijing-backed global influence campaigns — a sign that China is taking pages out of Russia's propaganda playbook.

Why it matters: These campaigns, which aim to discredit the massive protests underway in Hong Kong, show China not only censoring information domestically but increasingly promoting disinformation abroad.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019

Pence suggests Hong Kong clampdown could prevent China trade deal

Trucks and armoured personnel vehicles mass across the border from Hong Kong, in Shenzhen. Photo: Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the U.S. would not make a deal to end its trade dispute with China if Beijing fails to "honor its commitments" to Hong Kong, Reuters reports.

The big picture: The remark comes a day after President Trump said it would "be very hard to deal if they do violence [in Hong Kong]. ... I mean if it's another Tiananmen Square, I think it's a very hard thing to do." Trump's economic advisers had previously insisted they were treating the trade dispute as a separate issue from other concerns, like human rights.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019