A day after the government asked YouTube to remove three channels for spreading fake news, YouTube has taken them down. On Wednesday, the I&B Ministry directed YouTube to take down Aaj Tak Live, News Headlines, and Sarkari Updates, in view of them being declared by the Press Information Bureau’s (PIB) Fact Check Unit as peddlers of fake news. The three channels were flagged for spreading fake news pertaining to the government, its various schemes, and even about the Election Commission.
The channels had nearly 33 lakh subscribers and recorded over 30 crore views, the government said. While News Headlines has 9.67 lakh, regular subscribers, Sarkari Update and Aaj Tak Live have 22.6 lakhs and over 65,000 subscribers, respectively. 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, thus monetizing misinformation.
The government blocked 104 YouTube channels and 45 YouTube videos.
Meanwhile, Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur told the Rajya Sabha that; the government blocked 104 YouTube channels and 45 YouTube videos for providing “false” and “misleading” information that could lead to rumors or fear-mongering. He was responding to a question on the spread of “fake news” circulating through digital platforms posed by BJP MP Jugalsinh Lokhandwala. We have taken action against the channels that have attempted to mislead and create fear and divisions in society under Section 69A of the IT Act,” Thakur said.