In a remarkable move, Twitter and Facebook removed this week China-based accounts spreading fake news on Hong Kong. Political analyst Victor Shih looks in Politico at the effect of this new policy against Russian-style fake news.
The accounts suspended by Twitter and Facebook on Monday were not linked to China’s state-run media organisations. Rather they were part of a network of fake accounts whose described tactics appear akin to the Russian misinformation campaigns coordinated to sway American public opinion in the lead-up the 2016 U.S. election.
“China is copying Russia and has set up a large number of accounts on Facebook and Twitter to pump out anti-protester propaganda filled with factually untrue statements and pictures. [Such accounts are] an attempt to polarise opinion, which Twitter and Facebook have publicly stated they don’t want to do, so they are acting on their new policies,” said Victor Shih, a professor at the University of California, San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.
He noted that the platforms had tightened regulations following “blowback” after the 2016 poll.
“They increased the level and awareness and [changed] the algorithm that they are using to catch manufactured campaigns for a political end, especially a violent political end,” Shih added.
Facebook on Monday removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts involved in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong”.
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