Twitter and Facebook said Monday they had taken action against China for using hundreds of fake accounts to sow political discord during the Hong Kong protests, marking the first time the social media giants had identified Beijing directly for spearheading such an operation.
Twitter said it was suspending nearly a thousand Chinese accounts and banning advertising from state-owned media companies, citing a “significant state-backed information operation” related to protests in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Facebook said it was removing five Facebook accounts, seven pages and three groups after being tipped off to the use of “a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts.”
Facebook and Twitter Say China Is Spreading Disinformation in Hong Kong
China has adopted Russia’s playbook for spreading disinformation on Facebook and Twitter, deploying those tactics in its increasingly heated information war over the protests that have convulsed Hong Kong.
In recent weeks, Facebook and Twitter accounts that originated in China acted in a coordinated fashion to amplify messages and images that portrayed Hong Kong’s protesters as violent and extreme, the two social media companies said on Monday. On Facebook, one recent post from a China-linked account likened the protesters to ISIS fighters. And a Twitter message said, “We don’t want you radical people in Hong Kong. Just get out of here!”