The government on Thursday ordered blocking of eight YouTube channels, including one operating from Pakistan, for allegedly spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order.
The blocked YouTube channels had over 114 crore views; and 85.73 lakh subscribers and the content was being monetised, an official statement said.
The channels that were blocked under the Information Technology Rules-2021 include seven Indian news channels. The blocked YouTube channels made false claims such as demolition of religious structures by the Government of India, ban on celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war in India, an official statement said.
“Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country,” it said.
It said the YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir.
“The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States,” the statement said.
It has been revealed that fake anti-India content was being monetised by the blocked channels on YouTube.
Earlier on April 25, the government had blocked 16 YouTube news channels including 10 Indian and 6 Pakistan-based channels for spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations, and public order.
According to information shared by minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar in a written reply to Rajya Sabha earlier this month, the government has issued 105 directions to social media platforms under the new IT rules that came into effect in February last year. The directions were issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the new rules.
The data shared by the minister shows that 94 directions to block content was issued to YouTube between December 2021 and April 2022, five to Twitter, and three each to Facebook and Instagram.