YouTube takes down hundreds of channels involved in Hong Kong influence campaign

YouTube has followed the actions of Twitter and Facebook which On Monday both announced they’d blocked accounts from China that were involved in coordinated disinformation attempts around protests in Hong Kong. In a blog post by Shane Huntley from a threat Analysis Group with Google Security, YouTube revealed it has disabled 210 channels this week that “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.” He said the channels used VPNs to mask the origins of the videos so they could not identify a source for the channels. But said this discovery was “consistent” with Facebook and Twitter’s actions related to China.
YouTube told Reuters that unlike Twitter, it does not have any plan to change advertising policies for state-controlled media outlets, however, it will soon expand labeling of state-sponsored outlets to the region. Also unlike Twitter, it did not release any notes about the accounts or the contents of their posts, so we’ll just have to speculate about what those channels looked like.
In the post, Shane also expanded on their efforts to end government-sponsored attempts to spy the online activities of their citizens recalling Google’s announcement that they have taken action to protect users in Kazakhstan after credible reports that its citizens were required to download and install a government-issued certificate on all devices and in every browser which enabled the government to decrypt and read anything a user types or posts, including intercepting their account information and passwords.