Twitter, Facebook remove Chinese accounts spreading Hong Kong misinformation

Facebook and Twitter announced on Monday that they have removed accounts that were attempting to sow discord in Hong Kong amid protests.

Twitter released an archive of 936 accounts it removed that originated in China, where the social media platform is blocked, adding that they have “reliable evidence” they were part of a “coordinated state-backed operation.” The accounts in the archive were part of a “larger, spammy network of approximately 200,000 accounts.”

Meanwhile, Facebook said it removed seven pages, three groups, and five accounts that were part of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” that originated in China. The company added that around 15,500 accounts followed one or more of the pages and around 2,200 joined at least one of the groups.

Facebook said they started an investigation into the activity after getting a tip from Twitter.

“Covert, manipulative behaviors have no place on our service—they violate the fundamental principles on which our company is built,” Twitter said in a statement announcing the removal of the accounts.

In screenshots shared by Facebook, the pages shared images that compared the protesters in Hong Kong to ISIS and cockroaches.

Shortly after the announcement, Twitter also said it will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled media outlets.

The protests in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region of China, started as a rebuke of a law that would allow authorities to extradite people to China.

Technology and social media have been instrumental in helping protesters both mobilize and avoid detection as the demonstrations have progressed.

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Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).