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YouTube shuts down 210 channels uploading videos on Hong Kong protests

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By Emma Beswick
YouTube shuts down 210 channels uploading videos on Hong Kong protests
Copyright  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Google announced on Thursday that it was shutting down 210 YouTube channels that were behaving in a "coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong".

It came just three days after Twitter and Facebook said they had deactivated hundreds of profiles that were posting content aimed at sabotaging the pro-democracy protesters.

Read more: Twitter accuses China of disinformation war on Hong Kong protesters

"This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter," Shane Huntley from the Threat Analysis Group at Google Security said in a blog post.

"We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations," he added.

Google did not give details of how popular the 210 channels were, nor how many videos had been posted to them.

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

Facebook, which is more widely used in Hong Kong than Twitter, said Monday that it removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts, including some portraying protesters as cockroaches and terrorists, after being notified by Twitter.

Anger erupted in Hong Kong in June over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said again on Tuesday the legislation was dead.

Protesters at mass demonstrations are calling for greater democracy in the city and an inquiry into alleged police brutality during past protests.

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