YouTube takes down 210 channels linked to state-backed anti-Hong Kong protests

Following Twitter and Facebook taking action against Chinese state-backed efforts aimed at discrediting the Hong Kong protests, YouTube has followed on their footsteps.

Following Twitter and Facebook dismantling influence campaigns originating from mainland China aimed at disrupting the ongoing Hong Kong protests, Alphabet Inc’s Google also said, its YouTube video streaming service has disabled 210 channels.

“This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter,” said Shane Huntley, one of Google’s security leaders, in a blog post.

Huntley however did not identify the origin of the channels.

Earlier this week, Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc had said, they had removed tweets, and pages from Chinese state-backed efforts to undermine the Hong Kong protests. China had tried to portray the particpants of the protests as dangerous and as vile extremists.

These protests now represent one of the biggest challenges facing Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. They began earlier this year in June as opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

Since then the protests have swelled into wider calls for democracy.

“We are deeply concerned by Chinese attempts to manipulate public opinion by spreading disinformation about the situation in Hong Kong,” said a spokeswoman for the United States State Department.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to directly comment on YouTube’s decision.

According to several social media users from Hong Kong who posted screenshots over the last two weeks, there are several anti-protest advertising from mainland Chinese outlets such as China Central Television, which were appearing on Twitter and YouTube and were critical of the Hong Kong protesters.

Twitter has stated, it would no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media. Facebook’s spokesman Andy Stone said, “we continue to look at our policies as they relate to state-owned media.”

Although YouTube has currently no plans to change its advertising policies, but it plans on soon expanding its labeling of state-backed media outlets in the region.

Although YouTube places a disclaimer on its services from government-funded networks around the globe, including from China’s Xinhua, CCTV and CGTN, however, it has yet to do so for Chinese newspapers Global Times, People’s Daily, and China Daily.

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