YouTube said on Thursday August 22nd, it has disabled 210 channels that appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The action by the Google-owned service came this week as Twitter and Facebook accused the Chinese government of backing a social media campaign against Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.
"We disabled 210 channels on YouTube when we discovered channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong," Shane Huntley of Google's security threat analysis group said in an online post.
"This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter."
Twitter and Facebook announced Monday August 19th, they had suspended nearly 1,000 active accounts linked to a coordinated influence campaign, while Twitter said it had shut down about 200,000 more before they could inflict any damage.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous southern Chinese city and one of the world's most important financial hubs, is in the grip of an unprecedented political crisis that has seen millions of people take to the streets demanding greater freedoms.
Twitter and Facebook are banned in China, part of the government's so-called "Great Firewall" of censorship.
Because of the bans, many of the fake accounts were accessed using "virtual private networks" that give a deceptive picture of the user's location, Twitter said.
"However, some accounts accessed Twitter from specific unblocked IP addresses originating in mainland China," it said.
"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government," Facebook said.