MIB orders blocking of 35 YouTube channels & 2 websites
The government has also blocked 2 Twitter accounts, 2 Instagram accounts, and 1 Facebook account for being involved in spreading disinformation over the internet
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has ordered the blocking of 35 YouTube-based news channels and 2 websites that were involved in the spreading of anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner over digital media. The YouTube accounts had a total subscriber base of over 1 crore 20 lakh and their videos had over 130 crore views.
Additionally, 2 Twitter accounts, 2 Instagram accounts, and 1 Facebook account have also been blocked by the government for being involved in spreading coordinated anti-India disinformation over the internet.
The ministry has ordered the blocking of these social media accounts and websites vide five separate orders issued under rule 16 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
Indian intelligence agencies were closely monitoring these social media accounts and websites, and flagged them to the ministry for immediate action, the statement reads.
The 35 accounts include the Apni Duniya Network operating 14 YouTube channels, and Talha Films Network operating 13 YouTube channels. A set of four channels, and a set of two other channels were also found to be acting in synchronization with each other.
All these networks appeared to be operated with a single goal of spreading fake news. The channels that were part of a network used common hashtags and editing styles. They were being operated by common persons, and cross-promoted each other’s content.
The channels propagated content to encourage separatism, religious divisions, and create animosity among the various sections of the Indian society. Such information was feared to have the potential to incite violence.
The recent action taken by the government follows the blocking of 20 YouTube channels and 2 websites in December 2021 when the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, were first utilized to act against such anti-India fake news networks. The intelligence agencies and the ministry continue to work closely in order to secure the overall information environment in India.
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