In the last year or so, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting claims to have blocked over 100 YouTube channels. Now, three more channels have been added to the list.

According to a press release by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), three YouTube channels have been “busted” for spreading false information in India. These channels are News Headlines, Sarkari Update and Aaj Tak Live. These YouTube channels had nearly 33 lakh subscribers and their videos, almost all of which were found to be false, were watched over 30 crore times, said PIB in the release.

Why were the channels banned?

According to PIB, the channels were fact-checked and were found to spread “false and sensational claims about the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Government schemes, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), farm loan waivers, etc. among other fake news.” This is the first time when PIB has exposed entire YouTube channels as against individual posts on social media spreading false claims, noted the release.

Some examples of fake news included the Supreme Court to have ruled that future elections would be conducted by ballot papers; the Government giving money to people who have bank accounts, Aadhar Cards and PAN cards; ban on EVMs, among others.

The YouTube channels were observed to be using fake and sensational thumbnails with logos of TV channels and images of their news anchors to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic. “These channels were also found to be displaying advertisements on their videos, and monetising misinformation on YouTube,” added PIB in the press release.
Of the three channels banned, News Headlines had 9.67 lakh subscribers, Sarkari Update had 22.6 lakh subscribers and Aaj Tak Live had 65,600 subscribers.

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