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YouTube removes 210 channels linked to disinformation campaign against Hong Kong protests

YouTube said Thursday it had found and disabled 210 channels that were spreading disinformation about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, at least the third such action by an American social media company since the street marches began months ago.

YouTube said in a blog post that it took down the channels this week as part of its effort “to combat coordinated influence operations,” a higher priority for social media networks since they found that Russians ran “influence operations” campaigns ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election by posting divisive material under pseudonyms.

YouTube doesn’t plan to change its advertising policies for state-controlled media outlets, though it did tell Reuters that it would soon be expanding its labeling of state-backed media outlets in the region.

The protests began as opposition to a bill proposed by the Hong Kong government, which would have allowed the extradition of criminals incarcerated in Hong Kong to China. While the bill was suspended on June 15, pro-democracy demonstrations have continued.

On Monday, it was reported that Twitter was running ads from the Chinese government-backed Xinhua news agency that attacked the Hong Kong protesters, but the platform quickly said it would ban ads from state-backed media companies. Additionally, both Twitter and Facebook have suspended thousands of active accounts that tried to discredit the protests.

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