Aug 22, 2019

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."

What they're saying: A Google statement indicated the accounts were acting in a "coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong."

  • Google did not disclose many details about the content. The tech giant did say that those who uploaded the videos intended to mask their origin.

The big picture: "The announcement illustrates the reach and pervasiveness of China’s attempts to steer the online conversation about the demonstrations in Hong Kong," writes the Washington Post.

Go deeper: Over 1 million people rally as Hong Kong marks 11th weekend of protests

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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.