Disinfo: Hong Kong protests: US government censors Twitter and Facebook views that are critical of dominant Western narratives


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.


  • Reported in: Issue 162
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Hong Kong, China, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Censorship, Conspiracy


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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YouTube – like Facebook and Twitter – aims to censor pro-Chinese views on the protests in Hong Kong

YouTube – like Facebook and Twitter – aims to censor pro-Chinese views on the protests in Hong Kong. This is why YouTube has recently disabled 210 channels which publish “inadequate” views of such protests. The three social media companies seek to censor content which is supportive of Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and other countries considered unfriendly by the US.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming Western media and social networks censor content which is supportive of  Russia, China, Syria and other governments considered unfriendly by the US, or critical of dominant Western narratives.

YouTube’s decision to take down 210 channels spreading disinformation came after the Google-owned service disclosed that channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the Hong Kong protests and appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign backed by the Chinese government.

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Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about socio-economic degradation of the Baltic states in the EU.

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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

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