A day after the government urged YouTube to remove three channels for promoting fake news, it claimed the streaming giant has taken them down.
On Wednesday, the I&B Ministry had asked 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 warned for propagating bogus news pertaining to the government, its numerous initiatives and even concerning the Election Commission. The channels had roughly 33 lakh subscribers, and logged over 30 crore views, the administration had said. While News Headlines has 9.67 lakh regular subscribers, Sarkari Update and Aaj Tak Live have 22.6 lakh 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,” the I&B Ministry had said, adding that these channels were also found to be displaying advertisements on their videos, thus monetising misinformation.
Meanwhile, Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the government blocked 104 YouTube channels and 45 YouTube videos for giving “false” and “misleading” material that could lead to rumours or fear-mongering. He was responding to a question on the propagation of “fake news” propagating through digital channels presented 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 added.
The minister said that, “We have also blocked four Facebook profiles and two postings, three accounts on Instagram, five Twitter accounts, and three podcasts…”