Twitter, Facebook suspend accounts allegedly tied to Chinese government effort to undercut Hong Kong protests

Twitter has gone on another account suspension spree, this time targeting nearly 1,000 accounts it claims are agents of a Beijing-devised conspiracy to influence the world’s perception of political events in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Facebook has banned seven pages, three groups and five accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong.”

“Inauthentic behavior” is Facebook’s latest catch-all term for content that runs counter to its own Western-oriented ideology. (Facebook has partnered with organizations with ties to Western governments in its efforts to root out “fake news” and “disinformation.” One such organization is the Atlantic Council, funded in part by the US State Department and NATO.)

A total of 936 accounts have been unplugged by Twitter, all allegedly based in China, all allegedly in violation of Twitter’s “platform manipulation policies.” The South China Morning Post reports:

“The social media activity of the suspended accounts, which posted in both English and Chinese, were part of efforts to undermine the ‘legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,’ the company said.”

Of the accounts suspended, 326 had over 10,000 followers, some with close to 300,000. But Twitter assures us that “intensive investigations [found] reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation.”

Speaking of coordination, Facebook confirmed that its own China-backed users were shut down thanks to a “tip” from Twitter. Partners in censorship?

Of course, it’s safe to assume that China is doing what it can to undermine the legitimacy of the Hong Kong protests, but it’s equally safe to assume that the US government is doing what it can in the opposite direction. At the time of writing, neither Twitter nor Facebook has suspended any accounts for being part of a US-led campaign to drum up support for political unrest in Hong Kong.