US social media giant Facebook said in a press release that it has removed five China-based accounts and other pages that had allegedly engaged in deceptive tactics focused on Hong Kong.
"Today, we removed seven Pages, three Groups and five Facebook accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong", Facebook said in the release. "The individuals behind this campaign engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts...They frequently posted about local political news and issues including topics like the ongoing protests in Hong Kong".
The release added that although people behind this activity had attempted to conceal their identities, the company's investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government. The social media platform launched the probe based on a tip from Twitter, the release said.
Shortly prior to Facebook’s statement, Twitter announced that customers will have 30 days to off-board state-controlled media advertisements.
Any affected accounts will be able to continue to use Twitter to participate in public conversation, but will not be able to use the company's advertising products, the release said.
Twitter said that it made the change to its advertising policy to "protect healthy discourse and open conversation" and by limiting the content users see from accounts they are not following.
The mass protests in Hong Kong initially began in early June as a reaction to proposed amendments to the autonomous region’s extradition laws, but over the months have grown into a full-blown opposition movement against Beijing’s control over the region’s affairs.
Recently, the level of violence during the protests has increased, with police and the opposition employing more aggressive tactics.