Facebook, Twitter Take Down ‘Deceptive’ China-Linked Accounts With Misinformation on Hong Kong Protests

Twitter and Facebook removed hundreds of thousands of China-based accounts accused of spreading misinformation about the protests in Hong Kong, CBS News reports.

"We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change," Twitter said in a news release Monday. The social network said that 936 of the “most active” accounts were based in mainland China. It also suspended 200,000 “more spammy” accounts.

Facebook announced that it removed "seven Pages, three Groups and five Facebook accounts involved in coordinated, inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong."

Accounts were linked to Chinese state operatives:

Both Facebook and Twitter said that removed accounts were presented as independent but were actually linked to Chinese state actors.

The accounts compared Hong Kong protesters to ISIS terrorists and cockroaches.

Isaac Mao, a prominent Chinese internet researcher, told CBS News that Twitter did a “good job to make it serious and target it accurately” but said Facebook’s efforts were a “joke.” He added that one of China’s biggest internet troll groups, Diba, was “still up running there without being touched."

Nearly 2M protesters marched Sunday:

“What started out as public frustration against a contentious extradition bill has exploded into anger and calls for greater democratic reform, the resignation of the city's chief executive, Carrie Lam, and an investigation into police brutality,” CBS News reported.

Protesters have taken to the streets for 10 weeks. On Sunday, an estimated 1.7 million people marched in the protests despite a government ban.

It was the first protest in 11 weeks during which police did not fire tear gas at protesters.

“After Sunday's non-violent protest, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said her government would ‘immediately start the work to establish a platform for dialog,’” CBS News reported. “Lam's approval ratings have plunged to historic lows – 20% according to the most recent poll by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute – since the U.K. returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997.”


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