Facebook and Twitter Say China Is Spreading Disinformation in Hong Kong – The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — China has aggressively stirred up anti-Western and nationalist sentiment using state and social media as part of an information war in the Hong Kong protests.

On Monday, Facebook and Twitter said they had discovered and taken down networks of accounts that had originated in mainland China, where both social networks are blocked. The accounts had posted that the Hong Kong protesters were acting violently and accused them of ulterior motives. One Facebook post likened the protesters to ISIS fighters.

The takedowns of the China-linked accounts mark an escalation in the global disinformation wars. In 2015 and 2016, Russia pioneered a disinformation playbook when it used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media services to disseminate inflammatory messages intended to divide Americans in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, many other countries — including Bangladesh, Iran and Venezuela — have also turned to Facebook and Twitter to sow discord at home and abroad.

China had been less visible about using Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation in the past, researchers have said.

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