On Friday, Twitter said it had deleted more than 170,000 accounts which were linked to the Chinese government disinformation campaign that targeted Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and found to discredit the United States.
The announcement came as a fellow American tech firm, video messaging app Zoom, said it acceded to the demands of Beijing for it to close accounts of US and Hong Kong activities who gathered on the famous chat app to mark the deadly crackdown on Tiananmen.
Twitter along with different social media apps like YouTube, Google, and Facebook is already banned in China, which uses a ‘Great Firewall’ to restrict access to news and information from around the world.
But in recent years, Chinese diplomats and state media have gathered to such platforms to push Beijing’s narrative.
Researchers and some Western governments have expressed concerns that China is developing networks of state-controlled or state-linked accounts that masquerade as legitimate users for distributing government messages or disinformation.
Twitter said it had dismantled ‘state-linked’ networks run by a 290,750-account ‘highly engaged core’ and boosted by another 150,000 ‘amplifier’ accounts.
“They were tweeting predominantly in Chinese languages and spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong,” Twitter wrote in its analysis.