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Twitter, Facebook accuse China of spreading fake news about anti-communist protest — and shut down hundreds of accounts

Fake news in service to totalitarianism

Photo credit: MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

Two major social media platforms announced Monday that they had shut down hundreds of accounts that were spreading misinformation about the pro-Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong against China.

Twitter said it shut down 936 accounts that it identified as part of a Chinese state misinformation campaign against the protesters who are demanding to keep their sovereignty.

Facebook also said that they identified and shut down accounts that they identified as a part of a Chinese campaign to spread fake news about the demonstrations.

The government in China has signaled that they are gearing up for a violent crackdown of the anti-communist demonstrations.

Facebook offered an example of the kind of propaganda being spread by the government-sponsored accounts in a blog post about their actions. In one, the pro-Democracy protesters were compare to ISIS terrorists.

"Protesters. ISIS fighters. What's the difference?" the ad reportedly said in Chinese.

As Twitter is banned from users in China, the propaganda appeared to be focused on pushing public opinion in the West, where Twitter use is more ubiquitous.

The micro-blogging platform also announced that it would not allow Chinese state controlled news platforms to promote their messaging on Twitter.

The Hong Kong protests were a response to plans to increase extradition of prisoners to the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong residents opposed the policy because China is one of the worst human rights violators, and the move would almost certainly lead to repression of political speech.

Here's the latest in the Hong Kong protest:

Hong Kong protests continue for 11th weekend as demonstrators demand democratic reform www.youtube.com

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