PIB’s fact-check unit detects three YouTube channels spreading fake news

They had nearly 33 lakh subscribers and their videos, almost all of which were found to be false, were watched over 32 crore times, says the Information & Broadcasting Ministry

December 21, 2022 03:37 am | Updated 10:39 am IST - NEW DELHI

The fact-check unit of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) has detected three YouTube channels which were allegedly circulating fake news pertaining to the Supreme Court and the top Constitutional functionaries.

The face-check unit has identified more than 40 instances where these channels were spreading false information. They had nearly 33 lakh subscribers and their videos, almost all of which were found to be false, were watched over 32 crore times, said the Information & Broadcasting Ministry.

“This is the first time when PIB has exposed entire YouTube channels as against individual posts on social media spreading false claims,” said the Ministry. One of the channels named “News Headlines” has 9.67 lakh subscribers and more than 31.75 crore views. Another channel, “Sarkari Update”, has 22.60 lakh subscribers and over 8.83 lakh views. The third one named “Aaj Tak (in Hindi) Live” has 65,600 subscribers and its videos have been seen 1.25 crore times.

According to the Ministry, these channels spread false and sensational claims about the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister, government schemes, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), farm loan waivers and other issues.

“Examples include fake news such as the Supreme Court to have ruled that future elections would be conducted by ballot papers; government giving money to people who have bank accounts, Aadhaar cards and PAN cards; ban on EVMs, etc,” it said.

These YouTube channels also used fake and sensational thumbnails with logos of popular TV channels and images of their news anchors to mislead the viewers into believing that the said news was authentic. They were also found to be displaying advertisements on their videos and monetising misinformation on YouTube.

“Action taken by PIB Fact Checks Unit follows blocking of over one hundred YouTube channels by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the past one year,” said the Ministry.

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