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Sushant Singh Rajput case: Fake news YouTube channel raked in lakhs

Updated on: 19 November,2020 07:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Sushant Singh Rajput case: Fake news YouTube channel raked in lakhs

Rashid Siddiqui (left) and Vibhor Anand at the Cyber Cell police station in Bandra

A youtuber from Bihar accused of running malicious campaigns by publishing fake stories over actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death allegedly earned over Rs 15 lakh in four months from his content, investigations have revealed. Accused, Rashid Siddiqui, 25, is a civil engineer from Bihar. Advocate Dharmendra Mishra of the Shiv Sena's legal cell had filed a case against Siddiqui, who owns the channel 'FF News'.

The police have filed a case on charges of defamation, public mischief and intentional insult. The court has granted Siddiqui anticipatory bail and asked him to cooperate in the probe. His posts against Mumbai police, Maharashtra government, minister Aaditya Thackeray and actor Akshay Kumar were viewed by lakhs of netizens. Kumar served a Rs 500-crore defamation notice to Siddiqui on Tuesday.

Huge success

According to police, after Siddiqui's initial posts on Rajput's death were widely viewed, he posted more such content and earned R6.5 lakh in September.

Rashid Siddiqui (left) with Vibhor Anand, who has also been accused of posting defamatory content
Rashid Siddiqui (left) with Vibhor Anand, who has also been accused of posting defamatory content

The cyber police had earlier held Delhi-based advocate Vibhor Anand for posting videos related to Rajput's death and verbally abusing the chief minister and Aaditya. The content got Anand thousands of subscribers while Siddiqui, who had 2 lakh subscribers before Rajput's death, now has over 3.70 lakh.

"The actor's death was used as an opportunity to earn money as people were curious about the case. Once the media started reporting different theories, YouTubers too grabbed the opportunity and started posting fake content. They maligned Mumbai police's image and earned money during the lockdown," a senior IPS officer said.

Defamation suit

With regards to Kumar, Siddiqui had made claims like the actor being unhappy about Rajput having bagged the film MS Dhoni, having secret meetings with the Mumbai police and Aaditya regarding his death, and having helped Rhea Chakraborty escape to Canada.

Expert speak

Yasir Shaikh, founder of Macksofy Technologies Pvt Ltd, told mid-day, "YouTube income is generated by advertisements through AdSense, sponsorships with popular brands, and affiliate links. Some times content creators produce material based on trends and try to make it viral without verifying the information. This spreads fake news. Also, it becomes very difficult for law enforcement officials to block videos immediately as they become viral and Google also starts making profits due to the ads."

Rashid Siddiqui's monthly YouTube earnings

. April: $96 (Rs 7,120)
. May: $04 ( Rs 296)
. June: $515 (Rs 38,200)
. July: $3,667 (Rs 2,75,005)
. August: $7,518 (Rs 5,57,658)
. September: $8,775 (Rs 6,50,898)
. October: $3,211 (Rs 2,38,180)
. November: $484 (Rs 35,901)

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