Only three days after Twitter and Facebook banned hundreds of accounts that all linked back to the Chinese government, YouTube has also weighed in. The accounts were said to be posting in a coordinated fashion, disinformation about Hong Kong, aiming at undermining the country’s pro-democracy protesters.
Google (GOOG) said in a blog post Thursday that the discovery of the 210 YouTube channels “was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”-CNN
“We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations,” Shane Huntley from Google’s security team wrote.
Google, which owns YouTube, provided no details on how popular the YouTube channels were or how many videos had been posted to the channels.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said he was “not aware” of specifics when asked about the YouTube channels.
“The biggest appeal of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including the Hong Kong compatriots, is to stop violence, end chaos and restore order,” he said. “It’s impossible to organize or manipulate the will of 1.4 billion people, and it’s impossible to block it as well.”
Just days before, Twitter said they banned more than 900 accounts originating in China that “were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement.” Twitter shared their findings with Facebook, who then also took action.