Inspired by Russian methods, China spreads false information on Twitter, Facebook and now YouTube, to discredit the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement.
After Twitter and Facebook, YouTube turned off 210 channels after discovering they were "coordinating by uploading videos related to ongoing protests in Hong Kong," Shane Huntley said Thursday, Aug. 22, security analyst within the Google group, which owns the video platform.
YouTube in turn accuses the Chinese authorities of carrying out a vast campaign of propaganda on social networks to discredit the mobilization for democratic reforms - according to the same modalities.
VPNs activated from China
"We have uncovered the use of VPNs and other methods to hide the origin of these accounts," said the expert. "This discovery is consistent with recent observations and actions by Facebook and Twitter regarding China."
A few days earlier, two other US tech giants had made similar accusations against Beijing, pointing out that they had suspended a thousand active accounts related to the misinformation campaign.
Beijing says he is not "aware of the situation"
According to Twitter, Facebook and now Google, the Chinese central government is deploying behind the scenes a digital arsenal to try to influence the opinion about a movement officially qualified as "terrorist". For its part, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured through a spokesman "not to be aware of the situation".
The center of geopolitical analysis Soufan Center indeed estimates that "Beijing leads on the Internet a misinformation campaign to increase the support shown to the authorities of Hong Kong," a method inspired by Russia according to the NGO based in New York.
To do this, Beijing uses on social networks "robots, trolls and other accounts" false nose "" to present the ongoing movements in Hong Kong as the fruit of "foreign interference," denounces the Soufan Center.
"Down the masks"
However, the organization believes that it is difficult to measure the real impact of this Chinese propaganda in Hong Kong, where the population has access to Twitter and Facebook, unlike mainland China where these networks are officially banned and blocked by censorship .
The Chinese social networks, tightly controlled by the authorities, have for their part extensively used the keyword "Down the masks", which was launched by the People's Daily, organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in power, notes the Soufan Center. This key word explicitly targets Hong Kong protesters who cover their faces, suggesting that this practice conceals criminal and terrorist activities.
A semi-autonomous region in southern China, Hong Kong has been experiencing its worst political crisis since June since its return in 1997, with demonstrations and other actions almost daily to demand more freedoms.