Barkha Dutt's YouTube channel hacked, all videos deleted before YouTube takes actiontext_fields
New Delhi: Hours after the disappearance of over 11,000 videos from the YouTube channel Mojo Story, an independent digital news platform run by senior journalist Barkha Dutt, following a hacking, some of the videos have begun to reappear on the channel.
Barkha Dutt had shared that her channel had been hacked on Monday, June 5th, and found that all the videos uploaded to the channel over a span of four years had been deleted. Additionally, the original logo of the channel was changed to the logo of the American automobile company, Tesla.
The inaction from YouTube despite her request to restore the videos prompted Barkha to share her anguish and sorrow on Twitter. “Four years of blood, toil, sweat, tears, 11,000 videos, COVID work of three years, ALL GONE. I am heartbroken,” she wrote.
Expressing her anguish on Twitter, Dutt stated, "After hours of urging @TeamYouTube to act & being assured action is being taken, I woke up to find @themojostory channel content ALL DELETED by the hackers." Dutt further disclosed that her organization had repeatedly requested YouTube to freeze the platform to prevent any unauthorized alterations. "I feel someone took a knife through my heart is all I can say. This could have been stopped," she wrote, directing her message to YouTube CEO Neal Mohan.
Dutt emphasized that if YouTube had heeded her previous requests and locked the channel as they do in cases of copyright strikes, this unfortunate incident could have been avoided. "But we kept being told 'process of investigation has to be followed' – and now it's gone," she lamented.
In response to Dutt's tweet, Team YouTube acknowledged the issue and assured her that they were actively working on investigating and resolving it. Their reply read, "Jumping in to let you know that we're still working on investigating/fixing this! your partner manager will be sharing more updates." Noted journalists and well-wishers rallied around Dutt, offering messages of consolation and reassurance under her tweet.
Mojo Story, known for its impactful journalism, has earned multiple accolades, including the prestigious Red Ink Award for Excellence in Journalism for Best COVID Reporting (TV) in 2022. Their commendable reportage on COVID also garnered them the Gold at the World Association of News Publishers Digital Media award for South Asia. The news platform was established with the objective of addressing the crisis of credibility and quality in the media, particularly television.
As the investigation continues, the hacking incident serves as a reminder of the vulnerability faced by digital news platforms and the need for robust security measures to safeguard journalistic integrity and protect against malicious cyber activities. The news community eagerly awaits further updates on the restoration of Mojo Story's channel and the actions taken by YouTube to prevent such incidents in the future.