India Blocks 35 Pak-Funded Channels, 2 Websites For Spreading Anti-India Fake News

New Delhi: The Indian government has come down hard on Pakistan-funded fake news networks, blocking 35 YouTube-based news channels and 2 websites involved in spreading anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner over digital media.

The YouTube accounts blocked by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting have a subscriber base of more than 1.2 crore, while their videos have over 130 crore views.

Two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts and one Facebook account have also been blocked by India for spreading anti-India disinformation on Internet.

Indian intelligence agencies, which had been closely monitoring these social media accounts and websites, flagged those to the I & B ministry for immediate action.

According to the Ministry, the accounts blocked were all operating from Pakistan. They were identified to be part of four coordinated disinformation networks – including Apni Duniya Network which was operating 14 YouTube channels and Talha Films Network operating 13 YouTube channels.

A set of four channels and another set of two channels were also found to be acting in synchronization with each other.

Modus operandi

The goal of all these networks appeared to be spreading fake news “oriented towards the Indian audience”.

The channels which were part of a network used “common hashtags and editing styles, and were being operated by common persons, and cross promoted each other’s content”, the Ministry said in a release, giving details of channels, examples of fake content and screenshots of those.

“Some of the YouTube channels were being operated by anchors of Pakistani TV news channels,” added the press release.

Nature of content

These channels, websites and social media accounts were used by Pakistan for spreading anti-India fake news about sensitive subjects related to India, the Ministry informed. The topics included Indian Army, Jammu & Kashmir and India’s foreign relations with other countries.

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