MoD presses YouTube to remove ‘Russian state’ hoax videos of Defence Secretary

23 March 2022, 17:44

YouTube app icon on mobile phone
YouTube app icon on mobile phone. Picture: PA

The demand came as the third clip featuring Ben Wallace was published on the video sharing giant.

YouTube is facing demands from the Ministry of Defence to remove hoax videos featuring Defence Secretary Ben Wallace or risk helping the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The calls came after a third extract of a hoax call between Mr Wallace and an imposter posing as Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal was published on Wednesday.

The MoD says the clips have been “doctored” to aid disinformation and “propaganda” at the behest of the Kremlin, as it struggles in the war.

But the footage has remained on the video sharing giant owned by Google since Monday when the first video extract emerged, despite the attempts of officials to get them blocked or pulled down.

The MoD wrote to YouTube saying that the apparently altered clips wrongly claim British-supplied Nlaw anti-tank missiles have failed and falsely suggest the UK is running out of its own supplies.

“Any perceived failure of our lethal aid supplied to support Ukraine will provide an immediate detrimental effect upon the morale of Ukrainian forces mounting resistance to Russian aggression and create another chapter in the Kremlin’s playbook of disinformation and lies,” the letter reads.

It says that the “modified and edited clips” risk being used by Vladimir Putin’s Russian state as a premise for more attacks breaching international law and to “inflict further human rights abuses”.

The letter adds: “I am confident you would not wish to be a conduit for Russian propaganda or be in any way associated with the potential consequences of this time of media manipulation.”

Saying the “Russian state was responsible for the hoax call”, the letter insists “you remove (or at least block) access to the videos”.

Officials fear further videos may emerge during the emergency Nato summit on Ukraine on Thursday, with Home Secretary Priti Patel also targeted and more touted from Mr Wallace

A defence source said: “YouTube is in danger of aiding and abetting the Russian state propaganda machine, putting people at risk.”

YouTube declined to say whether it would be removing the videos.

A spokeswoman said: “We are taking extraordinary measures to stop the spread of misinformation and disrupt disinformation campaigns online.

“Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, we have taken a number of actions including blocking access to all channels associated with Russian state-funded media, globally.

“We’ve also removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating our Community Guidelines, and our systems are continuing to surface authoritative news content in search results for queries about Russia and Ukraine.”

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Glastonbury Festival 2022

Glastonbury 2022 broke data records, EE says

A child using a laptop computer

Pupils ‘AirDrop nudes in maths and use Google Drive to store images’, MPs told

Over 20 million US dollars were raised by the public for drones to fight the Russian invasion

Tech company to gift Bayraktar drones to Ukraine after millions raised by public

A mixed reality holographic patient

UK medical students training on hologram patients in world-first

Laptop

Warning new internet laws will hand ministers ‘unprecedented’ powers

A battery changing station of Nio brand electrical car (Alamy)

Two dead after Nio electric car they were testing ‘falls from building’

Alexa to expand

Amazon’s Alexa could mimic the voices of dead relatives

Ai-Da at work

Robot painting Glastonbury’s famous faces says festival atmosphere is ‘electric’

Instagram's new age verification tools, which have started being testing in the US

Instagram begins testing new age verification tools

A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing

Microsoft: Russian cyber spying targets 42 Ukraine allies

Social media apps on a smartphone

Meta removes ‘large numbers’ of upskirting images found on Facebook

Rio Ferdinand poses for photographs with children at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the launch of the Diana Award’s annual anti-bullying campaign Don’t Face It Alone (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Rio Ferdinand calls for new ‘inspiring’ online platform to combat child bullying

A screenshot of the Microsoft Outlook email service

Microsoft’s Outlook email service hit by outage

Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s proposed £35.8bn Twitter deal gets board endorsement

Apple unveils new products

Guide Dogs launches scheme to provide free iPads to children with sight loss

A woman using a laptop

Cloudflare outage knocks hundreds of websites offline