PIB Busts Three Fake YouTube News Channels For Spreading Misinformation

The Press Information Bureau of the Government of India has busted three fake YouTube news channels reportedly for distortion of facts and spreading misinformation following actions initiated by the PIB Fact Check Unit (PCU). This was announced by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has blocked over 100 YouTube channels so far on the basis of the findings of the PCU.

Following a series of more than 40 fact-checks, the PIB announced on Tuesday that it has busted three YouTube channels which were spreading false information in India. It further said these YouTube channels had nearly 33 lakh subscribers and over 30 crores visitors – all of them “fake.”

A statement released by the PIB on Tuesday, this is the first time that it has exposed entire YouTube channels against individual posts on social media for distorting facts and spreading false claims. The fake YouTube channels are News Headlines (9.67 lakh subscribers and over 31 crore views); Sarkari Update (22.6 lakh subscribers and over eight lakh views); and Aaj Tak LIVE (65.6 thousand subscribers and over one crore views).

The PIB said these YouTube channels made false and sensational claims and spread misinformation about the Supreme Court of India, the Chief Justice of India, various government schemes, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), and farm loan waivers, among others.

Citing examples of misinformation, the PIB statement says that some of the malicious and false headlines carried by these YouTube news channels are ‘Supreme Court has ruled that future elections would be conducted by ballot papers’, ‘Government giving money to people who have bank accounts, Aadhar Cards and PAN cards’, and ‘ban on EVMs’, among others.

The PIB statement further said that these YouTube channels were found 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, and monetising misinformation on YouTube.

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