Twitter and Facebook delete propaganda creating accounts
When used correctly, social media platforms can bring people together and be a useful tool. Though there are times when tools can be misused. In a recent update on the misuse of Twitter and Facebook, Twitter has banned advertising capabilities within state-controlled media outlets and suspended over a thousand accounts.
The Pages often post about local political news and issues including the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The people behind these Pages, Groups, and Accounts have concealed their identities, however, Facebook investigations have linked the fake Pages to the Chinese government.
The accounts were used to incite riots, and create propaganda surrounding political unrest. Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, this trend has continued to grow to become a serious issue. Similarly to the unrest in China similar tactics have been used in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Israel.
The Drum reports, “Hong Kong has been rocked over the last couple of months by citizens protesting over a controversial extradition bill … The bill, if enacted, would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan.”
Currently, 700 arrests have been made in an attempt to discourage the rioting. Though last weekend reportedly 1.5 million protestors shut down an entire airport.
In addition to the accounts Twitter suspended, Facebook has removed multiple pages with thousands of followers each.
Twitter’s blog post about the topic stated the accounts were created with the use of a VPN to access Twitter because Twitter is blocked in China. This enabled the creators to make accounts without the detection of the local government.
The content within these pages and accounts was intentionally edited to create a negative narrative. Additionally, apps like WhatsApp and Weibo were used for private group chats. Twitter explains why they made the choice to moderate content stating, “We want to protect healthy discourse and open conversation… we have higher standards for our advertisers.”
According to their newsroom post, they are making progress in making their network free of abuse but they have admitted that it’s an ongoing challenge. They are, however, committed to continually improving their algorithms to weed out such as Pages, Groups, and Accounts. They are also building better technology, working closely with law enforcement, and hiring more people who are experts in digital security.
The changes that are being made to social platforms to prevent users from creating propaganda will continue to adapt based on changes from platform to platform. To stay up to date subscribe to the Holler Hustle