Hong Kong Protests: Twitter Bans State-Run Media Ads After It Along With Facebook Takes Down Chinese Accounts

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters entered the arrival halls of the Hong Kong International Airport with signs reading “Hong Kong is not safe”, “Shame on Police”. (Representative Image) (@Fight4HongKong/Twitter)

Social networking company Twitter on Monday (19 August) announced that it would no longer accept advertisements from state-controlled news media entities, reports CNN.

The company, however, said that accounts affected by the new rules can still use Twitter as regular users. The new policy came after several news outlets reported that Chinese state-run media outlets had been buying advertisements on Facebook and Twitter that portrayed the protests negatively,

Twitter, in a statement, said the new policy would only apply to "news media entities that are either financially or editorially controlled by the state”. It does not include taxpayer-funded entities, including independent public broadcasters, Twitter said.

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According to the report, the policy also came after Twitter along with Facebook released information which, according to them, detailed a covert state-backed media campaign run from China that seeks to undermine ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong.

A network of over 900 accounts were being run from China on Twitter that "were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” a Twitter statement said.

Some of these accounts called protesters "cockroaches" or compared them to Islamic State terrorists.

Facebook also removed accounts, pages and groups involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong protests.

The Hong Kong protests have been going on for 11 consecutive weekends. The protesters are demanding greater democracy and an inquiry into alleged police brutality during the past demonstrations.

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