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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

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

3 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.