India blocks 22 YouTube channels over national security concerns – TechCrunch

India has banned 22 YouTube “news” channels for spreading disinformation on topics concerning national security and public order. The banned YouTube channels had amassed a combined total of 2.6 billion viewers, New Delhi said.

The channels, four of which had origins in Pakistan and the others from India, were trying to use designs and logos similar to those of credible outlets, the government said. The videos used misleading thumbnails, titles to gain views and share misinformation on a number of topics, including India’s armed forces and the current “situation” in Ukraine, he added.

The department invoked emergency powers under the new 2021 IT rules, he said. The government first exercised this power late last year, when it blocked 20 channels. The government said it had now blocked 78 channels on YouTube and some social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter since December.

“Several YouTube channels have been used to post fake news on various topics such as Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc.,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The content ordered blocked also included some anti-Indian content posted from multiple social media accounts operated in a coordinated fashion from Pakistan. It has been observed that a significant amount of fake content posted by these Indian YouTube-based channels is related to the current situation in Ukraine and is aimed at undermining India’s foreign relations with other countries.

India introduced new IT rules last year that give it greater control over content on social media platforms. The rules also hold social media companies to account with more scrutiny, a factor that has prompted dozens of companies to back down. The rules came into force in the middle of last year.

Raymond T. Helms