- Govt's big action against Pakistani YouTube channels spreading fake news against India
- 35 YouTube channels, 2 websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts blocked
- Some of the YouTube channels were being operated by anchors of Pakistani TV news channels
Based on fresh intelligence inputs, the Centre has blocked 35 YouTube channels, 2 Twitter accounts, 2 Instagram accounts, 2 websites and a Facebook account. The government last month had blocked 20 YoubTube channels and two websites in a closely coordinated effort between intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The channels and websites were spreading anti-India propaganda and fake news on the internet.
Informing about the move, Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary (P&A), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said, "The common factor amongst all these accounts have been that they operate from Pakistan and spread fake anti-India news and other content."
The channels and websites belonged to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan and spreading fake news about various sensitive subjects related to India. The channels were used to post divisive content in a coordinated manner on topics like Kashmir, Indian Army, minority communities in India, Ram Mandir, General Bipin Rawat, etc. One of the groups identified on YouTube was 'Naya Pakistan'. The channels had a combined subscriber base of over 35 lakh, and their videos had over 55 crore views.
Modus Operandi: How Pakistani YouTube channels were spreading fake news about India
The 35 accounts blocked by the ministry were all operating from Pakistan, and were identified to be part of four coordinated disinformation networks. These 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 oriented towards the Indian audience. The channels which were part of a network used common hashtags and editing styles, were being operated by common persons, and cross promoted each other’s content. Some of the YouTube channels were being operated by anchors of Pakistani TV news channels.