Twitter disclosed on Aug. 19 that it purged a “spammy network” of about 200,000 accounts for violating the social media’s platform manipulation of policies.
The online news and social media network believed these accounts are part of a covert Chinese Communist Party’s (the CCP’s) operation targeting the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.
“An American company shouldn’t endorse the CCP’s propaganda”
— Miguel Moreno (@Miguel_NTD) August 20, 2019
Twitter stated it suspended nearly 1,000 accounts believed to originate from mainland China. The tweets from these accounts spread CCP propaganda against the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests by undermining the legitimacy and the views of the pro-democracy protest movement.
These accounts “were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong,” according to a statement issued by Twitter.com
Twitter said it is also banning ads from state-controlled Chinese media companies.
Both actions were part of Twitter’s endeavor to control malicious political activity, following criticism that the social media platform is facilitating election interference globally. Twitter was also condemned for accepting money for propaganda ads from state-controlled media organizations.
Following a tip from Twitter, Facebook conducted its own investigation and revealed accounts linked to individuals connected to the Chinese regime.
Facebook stated it has removed three groups, seven pages, and five accounts, and those depicting protesters as cockroaches and terrorists.
“There’s a common consensus among social media users on Facebook and Twitter that there’s tolerance for fake news accounts and so I think shutting them down is correct,” said Hong Kong citizen Alan Chan.
Speaking in Cantonese, another Hong Kong resident Ryan Lo said, “It’s no problem shutting down those fake news accounts but it’s important not to shut down the real ones.”
President of Hong Kong Information Technology Federation Francis Fong said, “Facebook and Twitter did the right thing.” Fong continued stating that they know, like “President Donald Trump says there is lots of fake news.”
“So I think the act of doing this by Twitter and Facebook is trying to restore the orders on the social media so that there will be lesser fake news,” said Fong.
He provided an insight into the reason for so many accounts originating from China. “You’ll see a lot of what we call like “50 cents” people” from mainland China, said Fong.
And because all the mainland Chinese social media are blocked, Fong said these individuals jumped the CCP firewall and got into Hong Kong where they could access unblocked social media networks to express a lot of things.
“No surprise that there are so many,” said Fong, who added, “shutting down 200,000 Twitter accounts is just the tip of the iceberg.”
These fake accounts impacted Hong Kong detrimentally, Fong stated. The recent social media CCP-backed propaganda has “torn the Hong Kong communities apart.”
“Our opinions are going into different extremes,” said Fong. “So I think the shutting down of all these fake news, fans pages or Twitter accounts would help to restore the order in social media in Hong Kong and we try to pull all the people together again,” he said.
The Chinese communist regime on Tuesday said it was not aware of these allegations.
Facebook, which is more popular in Hong Kong, did not release any data on covert CCP state-controlled operations. Nor did it ban ads from state-owned Chinese media companies.