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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

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
12 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.