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FACT CHECK: No, PMO did not turn off comments on recent Mann Ki Baat episode to avoid criticism

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

The 68th episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Mann ki Baat', a show in which PM Modi shares his views, became a point of contention on social media. A section of users started claiming that PMO has deliberately disabled the comment section in his show that went live on August 30, to avoid backlash from the “students” as he did not discuss the upcoming NEET-JEE in his address.

This claim started circulating amid the government's decision to conduct the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test- Joint Entrance Exam or NEET-JEE in the month of September. There has been a nationwide drive demanding the government to postpone the exams due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country.

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

A Twitter user named Nimma Jitesh shared a similar claim. He wrote, "PMO turned off comments on mann ki baat YouTube video."

While sharing four images showing how comments from Mann Ki Baat episode have been deleted and then the comments have been turned off, a user wrote, "So, #PMModi's monologue ‘Mann ki Baat’ got 1 lakh+ DISLIKES compared to 7K LIKES. He is getting brutally trolled and receiving outrageous comments. Allegedly many comments got deleted and the comment section turned off. Lol"

The truth behind the claiming

In our investigation, we found that 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.

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”.

Moreover, Bhartiya Janata Party’s YouTube channel, PM Modi’s YouTube channel, etc. also upload the episodes of Mann Ki Baat program when the comments section is not turned off. It appears that some Twitter 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.

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

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