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Information & broadcasting ministry has blocked eight YouTube channels, a Facebook account and two Facebook posts for ‘spreading disinformation’ related to national security.

The ministry on August 18 said that utilizing “emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021“, the government blocked the channels on August 16.

“The purpose of the content published by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India. False claims were made in various videos of the blocked YouTube channels. Examples include fake news such as the Government of India to have ordered demolition of religious structures; Government of India to have banned celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war in India, etc. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country,” a communication from the ministry said.

It added that the YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian armed forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. “The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign states,” it said.

The blocked Indian YouTube channels were observed to be using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic.

All the YouTube channels blocked by the ministry were displaying advertisements on their videos having false content detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India’s foreign relations, the statement said.

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