The Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has blocked seven Indian and one Pakistan-based YouTube news channels for allegedly spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order.
The blocked channels had over 114 crore views and 85.73 lakh subscribers. ”Fake anti-India content was being monetised by the blocked channels on YouTube,” said an official, adding that a Facebook account and two posts on the social media platform have also been blocked.
“The purpose of 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...,” said the Ministry in a statement.
The Ministry said fake news — such as the Central government having ordered demolition of religious structures and banned celebration of religious festivals — were being spread. One channel talked about “declaration of religious war in India, etc”. “Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country,” it said.
The YouTube channels also used to post “fake news” on issues like the Indian armed forces and Jammu & Kashmir, which was “completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States”.
The blocked Indian channels had been using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers into believing that their content was authentic. All the channels were displaying advertisements in their videos having false content that was also “detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India’s foreign relations”.
Since December last year, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking 102 YouTube news channels and several other social media accounts.