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Google disables 210 YouTube accounts linked to misinformation about Hong Kong protests

By Daniel Uria
Google disables 210 YouTube accounts linked to misinformation about Hong Kong protests
Google disabled 210 YouTube accounts related to a coordinated effort to spread false information about pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Photo by Miguel Candela/EPA 

Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Google disabled 210 YouTube channels associated with spreading misinformation about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

The company removed the accounts, which it found were behaving in a coordinated manner to upload videos related to the protests, as part of an ongoing effort to combat coordinated influence operations on the platform, Shane Huntley of Google Security's Threat Analysis Group said in a blog post.

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"We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origins of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations," Huntley said.

Google's move comes after Facebook and Twitter collectively removed hundreds of profiles, Pages and Groups from their platforms for actively coordinating and using fake accounts to misrepresent themselves while spreading false information about the protests.

Facebook said the accounts were linked to Chinese officials, but Google did not include any information about who may have been behind the YouTube accounts.

Also Thursday, China's Mass Transit Railway announced that services may be stopped and stations closed without notice "if fights, vandalism or other acts of violence" occur, in response to the protests.

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"The police may need to enter stations to take suitable law enforcement when necessary," the MTR said.

The decision comes after protesters staged a sit-in at the Yuen Long MTR station on Wednesday, in remembrance of demonstrators who were attacked by a mob wielding iron bars and bamboo sticks on July 21.

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