Success! YouTube removes fake China accounts

3rd November 2014

Company follows Twitter's example after Free Tibet campaign

YouTube has deleted more than 50 fake accounts created to promote Chinese propaganda online. The action follows a letter to the company from Free Tibet in September and a detailed dossier we submitted, identifying suspect accounts. The success follows Twitter's deletion of around 100 false accounts as a result of our campaign in July.

China's propaganda

In the summer, we revealed how China had set up bogus personal accounts on Twitter to spread propaganda portraying Tibet as a happy Chinese province. The account profiles were of "Western" people, to suggest that many Westerners supported China's actions in Tibet. The story garnered headlines around the world and following hundreds of emails and tweets from Free Tibet supporters, Twitter deleted all the accounts within two weeks. Many of the Twitter identities were used for accounts on YouTube used to share and comment positively on videos promoting China as a progressive and benevolent country. Videos included those showing "happy" Tibetans and state-organised "celebrations" in Tibet. YouTube (which is owned by Google) has deleted all but one of the accounts we identified and also removed a number of videos.

Propaganda failure

The Chinese government has recently been engaged in a propaganda offensive on Tibet. As well the Twitter and YouTube scams, China invited Western public figures to a conference in Lhasa in August and claimed they had supported its position - though many subsequently claimed they had never agreed to it. During their visit, police fired on a demonstration, fatally injuring four Tibetans. Two weeks ago, an Irish TV news crew was taken on an escorted visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region. Before departure, the crew took advice from Free Tibet and their reports from Tibet made clear that the visit was a propaganda exercise.

Take action

small_action4.jpg One politician who attended the Lhasa conference has not made any statement repudiating Chinese media's claims that he supported China's work. The UK's Lord Davidson has declined all requests from Western media and ignored four polite contacts from Free Tibet asking him to clarify his position and condemn the shootings. Get in touch with Lord Davidson and ask him to be accountable for his actions.