Twitter And Facebook Take 1st Actions Against China For Allegedly Using Fake Accounts For Propoganda In Hong Kong

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
fake accounts
Twitter and Facebook are taking action against fake accounts in China that are promoting discord during pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Police and demonstrators clash during a protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Social media platforms took action against China for using hundreds of fake accounts to cause chaos during the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.

The two companies suspended or removed several accounts involved in the “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” and Twitter announced that it will be prohibiting state-controlled media sources from advertising on its platform.

Facebook and Twitter are forbidden in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong. People in mainland China can still access the two platforms via virtual private networks that can mask a computer’s actual location, according to The Verge.

“We want to protect healthy discourse and open conversation,” Twitter said, adding that the new policy would only apply to “news media entities that are either financially or editorially controlled by the state.”

“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.

Hundreds of fake accounts

In the People’s Republic of China, 936 accounts were found to be “deliberately and specifically” promoting discord in Hong Kong. Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said seven pages, three groups, and five accounts traced back to China were removed.

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Liu Liehong, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, accused Facebook and Twitter of double standards after the move to suspend the accounts.

“This is a big deal,” said Emily Stewart, a Vox reporter who covers changes in the digital world.

“There have long been concerns about China’s social media disinformation and misinformation capabilities, but we haven’t really seen them put into action until now.”