Centre bans 6 YouTube channels for spreading ‘fake news’

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) banned six YouTube channels for peddling fake news and misinformation, underlining the news outlets was found to be “operating as part of a coordinated disinformation network.

These outlets have nearly 20 lakh subscribers and their videos have been watched over 51 crore times, according the government said.

“The six YouTube channels were found to be operating as part of a coordinated disinformation network, had nearly 20 lakh subscribers and their videos have been watched over 51 crore times,” the ministry said in a press release. The YouTube channels are: Samvaad TV, Nation TV, Sarokar Bharat, Nation 24, Swarnim Bharat and Samvaad Samachar.

In a six-series Twitter thread, the PIB (Press Information Bureau) fact-check unit (FCU) released several evidences to prove these channels’ attempts to spread fake news.

The channels I&B Ministry said these channels spread false information such as making claims regarding ban on electronic voting machines (EVM), falsely attributing the President or Chief Justice of India. “The channels are part of a fake news economy that thrives on monetization of fake news,” the statement said.

It said that the channels use fake, clickbait and sensational thumbnails and images of television news anchors of TV channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic and drive traffic to their channels to monetize the videos published by them, as per media reports.

Immediately after an official statement was issued by the PIB, officials said, the channels started deleting videos related to fake news while some even changed their name.

In December, the government banned 104 YouTube channels, 45 videos, four Facebook accounts, three Instagram accounts, five Twitter handles and six websites for threatening national security and spreading fake news, according to India Today.


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