Tuesday October 15, 2019
When Twitter Safety announced that it was taking actions against “information operations” directed at Hong Kong, informed observers could have immediately assumed that Twitter was not actually serious about stopping anything of the sort but rather ensuring the information operation they are a part of was protected and those attempting to take action against it were purged from their platform.
And of course, those informed observers would be correct.
The official statement published on Twitter’s official blog titled, “Information operations directed at Hong Kong,” would claim:
We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change.The statement would also claim:
This disclosure consists of 936 accounts originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground. Based on our intensive investigations, we have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation. Specifically, we identified large clusters of accounts behaving in a coordinated manner to amplify messages related to the Hong Kong protests.Ironically, “a coordinated state-backed operation” is exactly what the Hong Kong protests themselves are.