The ministry has announced a ban on fake youtube channels that mislead users. This is a good move as it will protect people from being misled and prevent them from falling victim to fraud schemes.
The six channels banned by the PIB Fact Check Unit allegedly spread fake news on election, proceedings in Supreme Court and Parliament and other sensitive issues like India’s friendly relations with foreign nations.
The ban is part of the Government’s initiative to curb fake news and misinformation
In an advisory to all internet service providers in India, the ministry said that fake YouTube channels which mislead users should be blocked immediately. They spread false information about public figures and government policies and can cause people to share rumors that hurt society, the ministry said.
It added that the three channels-News Headlines, Sarkari Update and Aaj Tak Live-have 33 lakh subscribers and their videos have been watched 30 crore times. They allegedly spread fake news about the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and key institutions like the Supreme Court and EVM voting machines.
They use fake clickbait titles, images of television news anchors and logos to trick viewers into clicking on their videos. They also post content about topics like the armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir, the ministry said. This violates sections 69A and 68A of the IT Act. The banned channels monetise their content through ads on the platform.
The ban is aimed at protecting users from being misled
Fake YouTube channels mislead users by providing wrong information and asking for personal or financial details. Such scams can harm people and society. Removing fake channels helps to make the internet a more reliable place.
The PIB fact-check unit found that these channels were monetising videos by peddling false news about the government, elections, proceedings of the Supreme Court and Parliament, among other things. They used fake click-bait thumbnails and images of TV news anchors to convince viewers that their content was authentic, the ministry said in a statement.
Three channels – News Headlines, Sarkari Update and Aaj Tak Live – with 33 lakh subscribers had been spreading misinformation about the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and key institutions. The videos of these channels were watched over 30 crore times. The channels were blocked by the PIB after fact-checking. They had also been using fake, sensational thumbnails and logos of popular TV channels and images of news anchors to deceive the public, it said.
The ban is a step towards creating a more reliable media landscape
In a world where the public is increasingly relying on social media for news, the government has taken steps to curb fake channels and protect its citizens. This is an important step towards creating a more reliable media landscape, and it should be commended.
The PIB’s fact check unit busted six YouTube channels that monetised fake news in a coordinated manner, it said in a release on Thursday. These channels, Nation TV, Samvaad TV, Sarokar Bharat, Nation 24, Swarnim Bharat and Sambad TV, had a combined subscriber base of more than 20 lakh and were propagating fake news about elections, proceedings in the Supreme Court and Parliament, and the functioning of the government.
These channels were also using false clickbait thumbnails with logos of TV news channels and images of news anchors to mislead viewers into believing that their news was authentic, the ministry said. They were displaying advertisements on their videos and monetising their content on YouTube, the PIB statement said.
The ban should not be used as a tool to suppress legitimate dissent
In the past, genuine content creators have struggled to gain visibility on YouTube amidst the fake channels’ clutter. The ban on these channels will help to make the platform more authentic and trustworthy, creating a level playing field for legitimate creators who are dedicated to providing quality content.
The government statement said that the channels monetised “fake news” pertaining to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and key institutions such as Election Commission and the Supreme Court. They also peddled false claims about the EVM voting system, the ministry statement added.
The channels blocked by the ministry used “fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead viewers”. They posted fake news on subjects including armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir. They had over 114 lakh subscribers and over 1.3 crore views. Among them were Loktantra TV, U&V TV, AM Razvi, Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal, SeeTop5TH and Sarkari Update, as well as a Pakistan-based channel called News ki Duniya.