witter evidently has no interest in reentering the Chinese market, accusing China of running a massive information campaign aimed at undermining the Hong Kong protests while also announcing an end to state media advertisements.
In a message issued on Monday, Twitter said that it had deleted 936 accounts which all originated in China and were working in a coordinated manner to deliberately “sow political discord in Hong Kong” by “undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement.”
Along with these 936 accounts, Twitter revealed that it had also suspended 200,000 other “spammy” accounts before they became “substantially active.”
“Covert, manipulative behaviors have no place on our service — they violate the fundamental principles on which our company is built,” the social media company said.
No more Xinhua sponsored posts
But that wasn’t Twitter’s only big announcement on Monday. After facing serious criticism this weekend for allowing Chinese state media outlets to buy sponsored posts which were used to attack Hong Kong protesters, Twitter said that it would no longer be accepting advertising from state-controlled news media entities.
The social media company clarified this new policy would not apply to all taxpayer-funded entities but only those entities that are either financially or editorially controlled by the state and deal in news.
I just came home from a completely peaceful march where possibly a million Hong Kong residents came out, with no police in sight, to call for basic democratic rights. What greets me is straight up lies from Xinhua about "bands of thugs", courtesy of Twitter advertising. pic.twitter.com/pUTsnqZ5oN
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) August 18, 2019
Though Twitter has been blocked in China for a decade, Chinese state media outlets have thrived on the network, working hard to building followings and frequently purchasing sponsored posts to reach wider audiences.
At the moment, China’s official Xinhua news agency has 12.6 million followers, People’s Daily has 6.7 million, China Daily 4.2 million, Global Times 1.4 million, and CGTN 14.1 million.
Facebook joins in
Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg is also at risk of irritating his friend and favorite author Xi Jinping with Facebook announcing that, after being tipped off by Twitter, it has removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts for participating in this same state-controlled information campaign.
“They frequently posted about local political news and issues including topics like the ongoing protests in Hong Kong,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, about the accounts.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government.”