Google recently terminated over 200 YouTube channels which were supposedly dedicated to posting content revolving around the Hong Kong protests. The company claims that the orchestrated efforts were designed to “disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations”. This move from Google comes shortly after social media giants Facebook and Twitter took similar action.
Although, Google’s actions were somewhat different from the other firms as it almost explicitly expressed its belief that China’s government was the active influence behind the accounts that have now been shut down. However, it would not divulge any more information on the type of content that was removed from the platform, nor the inspiration behind it.
A statement from Google read, “Earlier this week, as part of our ongoing efforts to combat coordinated influence operations, we disabled 210 channels on YouTube when we discovered channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”
Twitter restricts anti-Hong Kong ads
Twitter’s assumption was that the channels were part of a misinformation campaign supported by the state, which was designed to undermine the Hong Kong protest saga. A spokesperson from Google refused to confirm whether the search engine giant concurred with Twitter’s judgment.
Google has not disclosed whether or not it would ban advertising sales to media groups run by the state, such as the Chinese broadcaster, Xinhua.
Twitter revealed that it wouldn’t tolerate ads from broadcasters who were financed by the government, or whose editing was run by the government, after dealing with harsh censure for permitting anti-Hong Kong ads to grow on the platform.