Technology giant, Google has disabled more than 200 channels on its video-streaming platform, YouTube for uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
According to the platform, the channels were disabled in order to stop the spread of disinformation by the Chinese. It was revealed that those who uploaded the videos tried to disguise their locations.
The director of Software Engineering – Google, Shane Huntley stated that this action is part of Google’s plan to combat coordinated influence operations. The accounts disabled by YouTube were linked to the accounts earlier disabled by Facebook and Twitter for the same reason.
The protests going on in Hong Kong are a reaction to an extradition bill proposed by the government of Hong Kong.
Why this matters: If Google hadn’t taken the action it took, it could have led to possible political discord on social media. This can, in turn, have adverse effects on the other users who were not involved in the chaos.
The role of YouTube and social media, in general, is to empower the users to get engage in matters covering various sectors including politics and not expose them to disinformation.
The action taken by YouTube came a few days after Twitter and Facebook said they would suspend nearly 1000 accounts that were linked to the disinformation campaign.
Meanwhile, Google’s move has caused a debate on whether it’s the responsibility of tech firms to choose what content stays on YouTube and what should be kicked out. Some people believed the social media platforms should remain largely open for users to express their freedom of speech. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, YouTube hasn’t said anything about the cases of disinformation it has recorded on its site but with this action, its stance is clear.