Hong Kong: Google on Thursday informed that it disabled around 210 YouTube channels after it found that those had been tied to misinformation about Hong Kong protests.
Days after Twitter and Facebook said they dismantled a similar campaign originating in mainland China, Alphabet Inc’s Google took the drastic step after the company learned they were tied to misinformation about the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
It also comes after Google and its video platform faced scrutiny from lawmakers regarding its ability to control misinformation that goes viral on its site, particularly as the 2020 presidential elections is near.
Google’s statement did not explicitly blame the Chinese government for misleading accounts.
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are all blocked in mainland China by the government but are available in Hong Kong. Each of the services bans deceptive practices and inauthentic accounts.
Twitter announced it would no longer allow advertisements from broadcasters who were financially and editorially controlled by governments, after facing severe criticism for allowing anti-Hong Kong ads to spread on the platform.
YouTube has also faced pressure to remove Chinese state media advertisements from its videos.
Several social media users in Hong Kong have posted screenshots over the last two weeks that they said showed anti-protest advertising from outlets such as China Central Television, or CCTV, appearing on Twitter and YouTube. The ads criticized the Hong Kong protesters.
Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc on Monday said that channels they had removed had engaged in a state-backed effort by China to undermine the protests in Hong Kong through posts calling participants dangerous and vile extremists.