The US government has compelled Twitter and Facebook to take down pages and accounts that allegedly “spread disinformation” about current protests in Hong Kong in order to censor views that are critical of dominant Western narratives about these protests.
Beginning in 2016, Western governments used allegations about “state-induced disinformation campaigns” and imaginary “Russian interference” in order to discredit opinions that question Western narratives as “threats to liberal democratic values”. Social media companies were pressured by the US and other Western governments to censor critical views and preserve the West’s media monopoly. This strategy, first applied to Russia, is now being applied to China and the Hong Kong protests.
Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that accusations by Western governments about pro-Kremlin and pro-Beijing disinformation campaigns [or other state-sponsored disinformation activities] are an instrument to censor opinions that are critical of dominant Western narratives. The article also uses a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that social media companies are controlled by the US government, and therefore censor any message which is not in line with dominant Western narratives.
YouTube's decision to close 210 channels that were uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong came after an investigation proved that these channels were part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests made by the Chinese government. Twitter and Facebook have also taken steps to block what they described as a state-backed Chinese misinformation campaign.
Pro-Kremlin disinformation and Russian-sponsored web-based influence campaigns are not imaginary problems used to justify censorship, but are issues of genuine concern for many governments around the world, including in Europe and North America.