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Twitter, Facebook find China-backed interference in Hong Kong protests

Anti-extradition bill protesters gather in front of the government complex during a rally to demand democracy and political reforms in Hong Kong, China. [Reuters Photo]

and on Monday said they uncovered campaigns by to use the social media platforms against pro-democracy protests in . "We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the and their calls for political change," Twitter said in an online post.

Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc said on Monday they had dismantled a state-backed information operation originating in mainland China that sought to undermine protests in Hong Kong.

said it suspended 936 accounts and the operations appeared to be a coordinated state-backed effort originating in .

Facebook said it had removed accounts and pages from a small network. It said that its investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government.

The Hong Kong protests, which have presented one of the biggest challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012, began in June as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts. They have since swelled into wider calls for democracy.

Twitter in a blog post said the accounts undermined the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement in .

In a separate statement, the also said it was updating its advertising policy and would not accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities going forward.

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