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Govt blocks 22 YouTube news channels for spreading fake news on sensitive issues

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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has blocked 22 YouTube based news channels, three Twitter accounts, one Facebook account, and one news website which were being used to spread fake news on issues sensitive from the perspective of national security, India’s foreign relations, and public order.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has blocked 22 YouTube based news channels, three Twitter accounts, one Facebook account, and one news website which were being used to spread fake news on issues sensitive from the perspective of national security, India’s foreign relations, and public order, according to an official statement issued today.

The I & B Ministry said the YouTube channels which have been blocked had a cumulative viewership of over 260 crore. The action was taken on April 4 under the emergency powers conferred by the IT Rules, 2021.

Four of these YouTube channels were based in Pakistan. 

The YouTube channels were used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content ordered to be blocked also included certain anti-India content posted from multiple social media accounts operated in a coordinated manner from Pakistan.

It was observed that a significant amount of false content published by these Indian YouTube based channels related to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, and aimed at jeopardizing India’s foreign relations with other countries.

The blocked Indian YouTube channels were using templates and logos of certain TV news channels, including images of their news anchors to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic. False thumbnails were used; and title and thumbnail of the videos were frequently altered to increase the virality of content on social media. In certain cases, it was also observed that systematic anti-India fake news was originating from Pakistan.