Union minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said 104 YouTube channels, 45 videos, four Facebook accounts, three Instagram accounts, five Twitter handles and six websites have been blocked for spreading misinformation and threatening national security.
Responding to questions in the Rajya Sabha, Thakur said section 69A of the Information Technology Act provides for blocking of content over digital media in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to the above.
He said under the provisions of Part-II of the IT Rules, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued directions to block 1,643 user-generated URLs, including webpages, websites, posts and accounts on social media platforms from 2021 to October 2022.
“The government has taken action under these rules and if required, we will not hesitate to take such action in the future,” Thakur said.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the government asked YouTube to take down three channels for making false and sensational claims about various public welfare initiatives and spreading fake news. The three channels were declared as peddlers of fake news by the Press Information Bureau Fact Check Unit on Tuesday.
“The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has directed YouTube to take down the three channels Aaj Tak Live, News Headlines and Sarkari Updates,” an official source said Wednesday.
Aaj Tak Live is not associated with the India Today Group, the government had clarified.
The channels were using thumbnails and images of TV news channels and their anchors to mislead viewers into believing that the news shared by them was authentic, an official statement said on Tuesday.