India blocks YouTube channels, Facebook page spreading fake news
India has blocked 8 YouTube-based news channels, one Facebook account and two Facebook posts using the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021. The blocked YouTube channels were subscribed by over 85 lakh users and had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crore.
In a statement, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said that the content published by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India. False claims were made in various videos on the blocked YouTube channels. Out of the 8 YouTube channels that were blocked, one — News ki Dunya — with 97,000 subscribers was based out of Pakistan.
Among the fake news being spread by YouTube included inciteful content like the Indian government ordering the demolition of religious structures, ban on the celebration of religious festivals and declaration of religious war in India.
Stating that the YouTube channels were used to post fake news on various subjects, including the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir, the ministry noted that the content was a threat from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States.
The blocked Indian YouTube channels allegedly used logos of certain TV news channels, fake and sensational thumbnails and images of news anchors to mislead the viewers into believing that the news was authentic. The banned Facebook account was that of Loktantra TV, which had 3,62,495 followers
To note, the government has, since December 2021, blocked 102 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media accounts.
The YouTube channels that were blocked include:
Subscribers: 12.9 lakh
Subscribers: 10.2 lakh
Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal
Subscribers: 7 lakh
Subscribers: 33.5 lakh
Sab Kuch Dekho
Subscribers: 19.4 lakh
News ki Dunya (Pakistan based)