Centre cracks down on 6 YouTube channels for spreading false information

The government on Thursday said that it has cracked down on six YouTube channels that were found to be spreading false information to its nearly 20 lakh subscribers.

The Fact Check Unit of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said these six channels were working in a coordinated manner and spreading false information and their videos had over 51 crore views.

“The PIB Fact Check Unit (FCU) of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting busted six YouTube channels which were working in a coordinated manner and spreading false information in India. The Fact Check Unit released six separate Twitter threads having over 100 fact-checks to counter the fake news spread by these channels,” the release said.

The YouTube channels exposed by the PIB Fact Check unit spread fake news about the elections, proceedings in the Supreme Court and Parliament of India, functioning of the Government of India, etc.

The channels are – Nation TV with over 5.57 lakh subscribers, Samvaad TV with 10.9 lakh subscribers, Sarokar Bharat (21,100), Nation24 (25,400), Swarnim Bharat (6,070) and Samvaad Samachaar (3.48 lakh), the statement said.

A senior official said that the channels Samvaad Samachar, Samvaad TV and Nation TV changed their names to Inside India, Inside Bharat and Nation Weekly respectively, after being “busted” by the Fact Check Unit of PIB.

The videos on the channels in question included false claims regarding ban on electronic voting machines, and false statements attributed to senior constitutional functionaries including the President and the 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.

This is the second such action by the Fact Check Unit of the PIB.

Last month, the unit had exposed three channels peddling fake news and written to YouTube to take them down.

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