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Fact-check: Did PMO turn off comments on YouTube video for Mann Ki Baat to avoid students’ concerns over NEET-JEE?

According to the policy update of January 2020, any content that has been posted on YouTube and marked as “Made For Kids” cannot have comments. One of the reasons that the comments are disabled on PMO’s YouTube channel is that the videos are marked as “Made For Kids”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his views via the Mann Ki Baat program for the 68th time on 30th August 2020. Since it went live on PMO’s official YouTube channel, some rumors are floating around that PMO has deliberately disabled comment section to avoid backlash from the “students” as he did not discuss the upcoming NEET-JEE in his address.

The protests against NEET-JEE exam

The National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test- Joint Entrance Exam or NEET-JEE will take place in the month of September. There has been a nationwide drive going on to get the exam for this year in the pretext of coronavirus pandemic. Interestingly, the social media platform is filled with trends against the upcoming exams and NEET aspirant “students” from Pakistan posing as Indians are also actively participating in the trends.

While protests are going on, out of 24 lakh students who will give NEET-JEE exams this year, 11.49 lakh students have already downloaded NEET admit cards, and 7.6 lakh students have downloaded JEE admit card so far. As almost 80 per cent of the students have already downloaded their admit cards, it seems like boycotting the exam attempts to create an issue out of the mole-hill.

The interesting case of “International support” against NEET-JEE

One thing that can baffle any sane person is that self-proclaimed environmentalists, including Greta Thunberg, have shown support for the “students” in opposing the exams. It is hard to understand how she can be connected to the exams in any way. It has to be noted that she herself is a school dropout.

Tweet By Greta Thunberg

Also, some celebrities from India, including Sonu Sood, have come forward to support the students. One of the most amusing parts of the support gathered by “students” to oppose exams is Licypriya Kangujam coming forward in the support. She is an 8-year-old kid who is projected by her guardians as an ‘environmentalist’. Interestingly, her twitter handle, operated in her name by her guardians had been called out for lying on multiple occasions. While she writes a 3-page letter to the NEET-JEE aspirants and fills her Twitter timeline with tweets against the exam, it is hard to believe she can think of running propaganda by herself.

Tweet by Licypriya Kangujam

The claims about PMO YouTube channel

Some “prominent” social media users have posted on their Twitter handle that PMO has deliberately disabled the comment on the latest Mann Ki Baat episode as negative comments were pouring in keeping NEET-JEE exams in the background.

Twitter user claimed PMO disabled comments recently.

Many twitter users, including Alt News cofounder, tweeted insinuating that the comments have been turned off because the PMO doesn’t want to hear negative comments from ‘students’ who are against the exams.

What is the reality

However, when we scrolled through the videos of PMO’s YouTube channel, we found out that the comments have always been disabled on the channel. Even the comments during the YouTube live and Community tab are disabled.

Screenshots of old PMO’s videos. Comments section is disabled on all videos.

What does YouTube policy say about the content made for kids

According to the policy update of January 2020, any content that has been posted on YouTube and marked as “Made For Kids” cannot have comments. YouTube brought this change to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that forbids the companies to collect data associated with children under the age of 13 without the parents’ consent. One of the reasons that the comments are disabled on PMO’s YouTube channel is that the videos are marked as “Made For Kids”.

An attempt to show comments from other channels hosting Mann Ki Baat

Bhartiya Janata Party’s YouTube channel, PM Modi’s YouTube channel, etc. also upload the episodes of Mann Ki Baat program and some other channels. While comments are held for moderation on PM Modi’s YouTube channel, BJP does not filter the comments. It looks like some Twitter users tried to be sneaky and posted screenshots of the comments from BJP’s channel without showing the title of the video that helps in differentiating videos from PMO’s channel and other channels.

Screenshot of Mann Ki Baat video on BJP’s YouTube channel that has comment section active.

In the majority of the videos uploaded by PMO, the title has the suffix “PMO”. It makes it easier for the users to differentiate which channel they are views the videos on. On the other hand, other channels like BJP do not add any prefix or suffix in the title.

Screenshots of videos by PMO. Titles have “PMO” as suffix.

It proves that the claims that PMO turns off comments on YouTube videos for recent Mann Ki Baat session to avoid negative comments from NEET-JEE aspirants is Fake.

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