Twitter shuts Chinese accounts targeting Hong Kong protests

Washington, Twitter said Monday it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts that it believes were part of a Chinese government influence campaign targeting the protest movement in Hong Kong.

The company also said it will ban ads from state-backed media companies, expanding a prohibition it first applied in 2017 to two Russian entities.

Both measures are part of what a senior company official portrayed in an interview as a broader effort to curb malicious political activity on a popular platform that has been criticized for enabling election interference around the world and for accepting money for ads that amount to propaganda by state-run media organizations.

The accounts were suspended for violating the social networking platform’s terms of service and because we think this is not how people can come to Twitter to get informed, the official said in an interview with The Associated Press (AP).

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, said the Chinese activity was reported to the FBI, which investigated Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media.

After being notified by Twitter and conducting its own investigation, Facebook said Monday that it has also removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts, including some portraying protesters as cockroaches and terrorists.

Facebook, which is more widely used in Hong Kong, does not release the data on such state-backed influence operations. The company also does not ban ads from state-owned media companies.

Source: Bahrain News Agency