SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube said on Thursday that its site was used to spread disinformation about the mass protests in Hong Kong, days after Twitter and Facebook cracked down on thousands of China-backed accounts that compared the demonstrators to terrorists and accused them of being at the whim of foreign interests.
In a blog post, YouTube said it had disabled 210 channels this week that had uploaded videos about the protests in Hong Kong. The channels had worked in a coordinated fashion to spread disinformation, the company said. YouTube did not specify when the channels were taken down.
Shane Huntley, a software engineer on Google’s threat analysis team, said the channels that were removed were “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”
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Facebook and Twitter said on Monday that they had removed thousands of accounts that originated in China and that acted together to amplify messages and images portraying Hong Kong’s protesters as violent and extreme. It was the first time that the social media companies had removed accounts linked to disinformation in China. At the time, Twitter said it had “reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation.”
YouTube did not address in its blog post why it made the disclosure days after Facebook and Twitter had revealed their findings.
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