Ministry of I and B blocks Pakistan funded fake news networks

These Pakistani social media were spreading anti-India fake news

New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered blocking of 35 YouTube based news channels and 2 websites which were involved in spreading anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner over digital media. 

The YouTube accounts blocked by the Ministry had a total subscriber base of over 1 crore 20 lakh, and their videos had over 130 crore views. Additionally, two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts, and one Facebook account have also been blocked by the Government for being involved in spreading coordinated anti-India disinformation over the internet. 

Indian intelligence agencies were closely monitoring these social media accounts and websites, and flagged them to the Ministry for immediate action following which these Pakistan based social media accounts and websites have been blocked.

Modus Operandi: Coordinated Disinformation Networks

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 others content. Some of the YouTube channels were being operated by anchors of Pakistani TV news channels.

Nature of Content

The YouTube channels, websites, and other social media accounts blocked by the Ministry were used by Pakistan for spreading anti-India fake news about sensitive subjects related to India. These include topics such as the Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir, and Indias foreign relations with other countries. It was observed that rampant fake news was spread through the YouTube channels regarding the demise of the former Chief of Defence Staff Late General Bipin Rawat. These YouTube channels had also started posting content to undermine the democratic process of the upcoming elections in five states.

The channels propagated content to encourage separatism, divide India on the lines of religion, and create animosity among the various sections of the Indian society. Such information was feared to have the potential to incite the audience into commission of crimes adversely affecting public order in the country. 

The YouTube channels, websites, and other social media accounts blocked  include Khabar with Facts, Khabar Taiz, Global Truth, New Global Facts, Information Hub, Flash Now,Faisal Tarar Speaks, Apni Dunya TV, Haqeekat ki Dunia, Shahzad Abbas, Mera Pakistan With Shahab, Khabar With Ahmad, HR Tv , Sabee Kazmi, Such Tv Network, Saqib Speaks, Salman Haidar Official , Sajid Gondal Speaks, Maleeha Hashmey, Umar Daraz Gondal, Khoji TV, Khoji TV 2.0,Cover Point, Junaid Flix, National Studio, Informative world , Dunya Official, Studio 360 , Haqeeqat Tv News, Haqeeqat TV 786, Bol Media TV, Urdu Studio, Zaki Abbas, White News,DNow.