Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

YouTube has removed 210 channels that posted about the Hong Kong protests

August 23, 2019
Protestors in Hong Kong
Protestors in Hong Kong
Protestors in Hong KongAssociated Press

It’s unclear which rules the channels had broken, though, or even which ones have been taken down.

The news: YouTube has disabled 210 channels, writing in a blog post they had “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.”

The reasoning: YouTube said its action “was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.” The two companies announced earlier this week that they’d suspended nearly 1,000 accounts thought to be part of a Chinese government operation to spread disinformation about the protests in Hong Kong. YouTube said it had detected the use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of the accounts, as well as other activity usually associated with “coordinated influence operations.”

Vague details: In many ways, YouTube’s post raises more questions than it answers. Are these accounts being closed because they’re posting disinformation? Or because they are coordinating with each other? The post didn’t provide any examples of accounts that have been removed, or the sort of videos they were posting. There’s a risk that the company could appear to be selectively applying (unspecified) rules.

Double standards: YouTube’s decision raises another, obvious question: If it can remove these accounts so quickly, why can’t it do more to stop the far right and white extremists from using its platform to spread radicalizing views, or to crack down on conspiracy-theory accounts? 

Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.