Earlier this week both Twitter and Facebook chose to block accounts from China that were deemed to be spreading disinformation about the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Now YouTube has announced a similar decision, with the platform confirming that 210 channels were removed recently.
While YouTube did not explicitly state the source of the channels, the firm did note that the discovery on its platform was consistent with that of Twitter and Facebook.
“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,” explains Google’s Shane Huntley.
“We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations,” adds the member of Google’s threat analysis group.
Interestingly though, as Reuters found out when talking to the firm, YouTube has no plans to change its advertising policies for state-owned media companies. It did, however, note that it would expand the labelling of content on its platform from state-sponsored outlets to their specific region.
It’s also unclear what those 210 channels looked like, or indeed what kind of content they were spreading, as unlike Twitter, YouTube has decided not to disclose that detail.
With the situation in Hong Kong only intensifying, it’s important for platforms like YouTube to do its part in ensuring that no undue influence is being spread in a bid to control the view of the situation. This is something that Google is acutely aware of.
“Each month, our Threat Analysis Group sends more than 4,000 warnings to our users about attempts by government-backed attackers or other illicit actors to infiltrate their accounts,” says Huntley.
“Our teams will continue to identify bad actors, terminate their accounts, and share relevant information with law enforcement and others in the industry,” he concludes.[Image – Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash]