The Strategist

Facebook,Twitter block more than 200 th fake accounts related to Hong Kong protests

08/21/2019 - 09:30

Facebook and Twitter reported that the Chinese authorities launched a full-fledged propaganda machine on the Internet, aimed at misinforming Hong Kong protesters. Based on such findings, social networks announced blocking of accounts, blogs and groups, which, in their opinion, contained false information about events.

Twitter’s corporate blog reported discovery of 936 accounts "originating from China." The company noted that these accounts “deliberately attempted to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining political position of the protest movement in the region." After conducting an investigation, the company reported "reliable evidence" that such actions were coordinated actions supported by the government.

Twitter clarified that since its service has officially been blocked in China, many of these accounts functioned via VPN connection. The company found out that such accounts operated through unblocked IP addresses from China. The company published data on these accounts and clarified that they belonged to a wider spam network of approximately 200 thousand accounts, many of which were created after the initial blocking by Twitter. The company noted that it temporarily blocked all these accounts. “Hidden actions aimed at manipulation have no place on our service - they violate the fundamental principles on which our company is built,” Twitter said.

Facebook also found “coordinated actions from China,” which were aimed at distorting the situation in Hong Kong. The company deleted seven pages, three communities and five accounts that posted fake or abusive posts about protests in Hong Kong, including comparing protesters with members of the Islamic State terrorist organization. The number of communities’ subscribers reached about 15.5 thousand people. The FB conducted an investigation and found that these groups, accounts or pages were related to the Chinese authorities. The social network has not yet provided more detailed information and evidence.

Despite the efforts of the Chinese authorities to curb protests in Hong Kong, street rallies in this autonomous region are growing - 1.7 million people have already taken part in protests last weekend. In this connection, Twitter announced that it will no longer publish advertisements on its platform from government organizations or related media sites.