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Google defends shutting down 210 YouTube channels related to Hong Kong protests

Aug 23. 2019
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By The Nation

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Google defended its move to disable 210 channels on YouTube, saying it was maintaining the integrity of its platforms. The move follows social media sites Facebook and Twitter, which had taken similar action on their platforms earlier this week.

“Protecting our users and the integrity of our platforms is essential to Google’s mission,” the company said on blog.google on Thursday. “Our team works with others across Google to detect phishing and hacking attempts, identify influence operations and protect users from digital attacks.” 

The search engine giant said that “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”.

Google said it found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity “commonly associated with coordinated influence operations”.

Earlier this week, Facebook and Twitter removed many accounts deemed as sources of misinformation and sowing political discord in Hong Kong that undermined the pro-democracy movement.

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