The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered the blocking of 22 YouTube-based news channels, of which eighteen are from India and four are from Pakistan, for allegedly spreading fake news to mislead viewers.
With this action, the ministry has, since December 2021, issued directions for blocking 78 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media accounts on grounds related to national security, sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, etc.
The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 260 crore, the ministry said in an official statement, adding that they were spreading fake news and coordinated disinformation over social media on subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security, India’s foreign relations, and public order.
False thumbnails were used, 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, ministry said.