The fact-check division of the Press Information Bureau has identified over one hundred videos that were uploaded to six YouTube channels and monetized as fake news. These videos had received more than 50 crore views.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry said on Thursday that these channels, which had a combined subscriber base of more than 20 lakh, used clickbait thumbnails to spread false information about the President, Prime Minister, Union Ministers, and Election Commission.
Nation TV, Samvaad TV, Sarokar Bharat, Nation 24, Swarnim Bharat, and Samvaad Samachar are the six YouTube channels that are accused of working together to spread false information throughout the nation.
The operators of four channels changed their names after the fraud was discovered by the fact-check unit. Additionally, they began to delete the videos.
It was alleged that the YouTube channels attributed false statements to senior Constitutional officials, such as the President of India and the Chief Justice of India, regarding a rumored ban on electronic voting machines.
The channels are part of a fake news economy that depends on making money from fake news. The Ministry said that, the channels use fake, clickbait, and sensational thumbnails, with images of television news anchors to mislead viewers into believing that the news was authentic and to drive traffic to their channels in order to monetise the videos they publish.
The PIB fact-check unit took this for the second time. It had previously, on December 20, 2022, exposed three channels that distributed false information.
The three channels, Aaj Tak Live, News Headlines, and Sarkari Updates, were removed from YouTube after the Ministry ordered their removal.