Guillaume Chaslot @gchaslot AI for good / Mozilla Fellow / algotransparency.org/ / Advisor at Center for Humane Technology / Ex-Google Aug. 30, 2019 1 min read

THREAD: The information war on YouTube about HongKong

The group @BeWaterHKG reported that when searching
"Hong Kong Police", top results were all from the official Chinese channel

What is going on?

1/

The top recommended video in my dataset about Honk Kong is currently the official Chinese propaganda line on CGTN:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrZvlhizKb0 

2/

The top recommended video in my dataset about Honk Kong is currently the official Chinese propaganda line on CGTN:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrZvlhizKb0 

2/

This video argues that the west and CIA are secretly leading the protest, and that people of Hong Kong should not be worried about the extradition bill 🤪

3/

Last year, I showed how the Chinese CGTN copied exactly Russia Today disinformation videos on YouTube:

 https://medium.com/@guillaumechaslot/china-television-and-russia-today-disinformation-after-the-world-cup-39cd5c2fca5d 

4/

At first, there seem to be some irony that Google's algorithms are promoting this video millions and millions of times.

5/

When you think of the way YouTube was designed, it makes sense. At no point did YouTube ever tried to be balanced, truthful, or democratic.

So YouTube slowly becomes the exact opposite.

6/

CGTN has millions of dollars for production, plus a huge experience on YouTube, with nearly 1B views.

It's logical that they became better at "optimizing" YouTube and showing up in recommendations than the average protester in Hong Kong.

7/

Dominating search and recommendations is not enough for Chinese government

The Chinese TV channel CCTV is running ads on YouTube that aim to smear demonstrators:



8/

CCTV also removed yesterday one of their video that was one of the most recommended around the protests and got close to a million views.

Why would they remove a video with that many views?

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGch4VrLcIY 

9/

Nobody knows. But during many campaign, like the French election and the American one, we noticed that the most recommended videos were often the one to disappear afterwards.

10/


You can follow @gchaslot.



Bookmark

____
Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.