.In a shocking move, close to 2500 YouTube Chinese channels have been deleted by Google. Google claims to clean up disinformation on the video-sharing platform. The channels which got removed in Q2 of this year generally posted spam content, as per a report by Gadgets360. Recently, the US government has also been pondering a move to purge the App Store from all Chinese apps.
According to the company’s Quarterly bulletin, it said that the channels were removed between April and June of 2020 as part of ongoing investigations into coordinated influence operations linked to China. However, it did not specify the names of the channels and provided few other details except to link the videos to similar activity spotted by Twitter.
Social media analytics company Graphika identified this disinformation campaign in April. And, the YouTube channels involved in such activities generally posted spam and non-political content. YouTube didn’t specify the channels and provided few other details, except to link the videos to similar activity spotted by Twitter.
But few of them did touch on politics according to Google. Also, the Chinese embassy in the USA is yet to respond to this action.
China stuck inside an antitrust loop
While this is an unexpected move, it is understandable considering the tensions between Beijing and Washington are rising every day with President Donald Trump threatening to block China’s TikTok out of the US if it didn’t comply with the government’s conditions.
Post the coronavirus fiasco, China has been facing a lot of accusations about being a not trust-worthy nation as it hid a lot of information regarding the pandemic. Add to this, the recent tensions between India and China at the border led to the former banning Tiktok and 59 other applications in June followed by another 47 apps recently citing data theft and security reasons.
The United States on the other side has been vouching for countries to avoid Chinese companies and have gone to the extent of banning Huawei and its 5G equipment. The recent concern of small-video sharing platform TikTok ban in the US is also seemingly part of the US campaign to keep data safe.
How are companies avoiding this?
Beijing, on the other hand, is constantly defending itself saying it has not spread any disinformation. Fake news has been of great concern even for developed countries like the US and since 2016, stakeholders and companies have tried their best to avoid a similar situation since then.
That said, Google and Facebook have reportedly issued many updates down the line to combat online political propaganda and also worked in ties with countries like Iran and Russia and try not to open the wrong doors again as per the bulletin.
That said, with the Presidential elections nearing in the USA, it will be interesting to see how the government handles TikTok and other disinformation floating around on social media.