Facebook and Twitter worked together to disclose and suspend networks of political accounts linked to China related to the peaceful protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government they say violated platform guidelines.
Twitter says that hundreds of accounts originating in the region attempted to “sow political discord” in Hong Kong, where millions of anti-government demonstrators have marched and protested for weeks.
The social networking site said in a blog post on Monday that it identified 936 active accounts which attempted to undermine “the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.” It shut down those accounts and suspended a larger “spammy” network of approximately 200,000.
“Based on our intensive investigations, we have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation,” Twitter said in the blog post. Since Twitter is banned in China, most of the accounts used virtual private networks (VPNs) to overcome a state-run internet firewall and censorship network, Twitter said.