Google has removed 210 channels on its video-sharing site, YouTube, in an effort to fight against misinformation.
The 210 YouTube channels that were taken down earlier this week were related to the currently ongoing Hong Kong protests towards democracy. The search engine giant classified the channels as “coordinated influence operations” in a blog post they published on The Keyword –Google’s official blog– Thursday.
The decision followed a similar move by social media site Twitter after it suspended 936 Chinese accounts last Monday. The suspended accounts were taken down over attempts to undermine the pro-democracy Hong Kong protests. Social media giant Facebook has also suspended five accounts, seven pages, and three groups that were tied to the government of China after receiving a tip from Twitter. However, Facebook claims that the suspensions were in a move against fake accounts and not towards advertisements against the Hong Kong protests.
According to Google, the company disabled the said YouTube channels earlier in the week after it was discovered that the channels “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.” Google also found out that the channels used VPNs to hide the channels’ place of origin.
“This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter,” Google wrote in their published blog.
The influence campaigns against the Hong Kong protests are confirmed as coming from mainland China according to Twitter and Facebook. Google, on the other hand, has not confirmed whether the YouTube channels were of the same.
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.