ABS-CBN News, ANC YouTube channels restored after hacking

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
ABS-CBN News, ANC YouTube channels restored after hacking
A screenshot of the ABS-CBN News YouTube channel shows a "404 Not Found" error.
Philstar.com screenshot / YouTube

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:21 p.m.) — The YouTube channels of ABS-CBN News and ANC were inaccessible for several hours on Tuesday after they were hacked a day before.

YouTube confirmed that the ABS-CBN channels were hacked on November 2.

"We take account security very seriously and notify account owners when we detect suspicious activity. If an owner has reason to believe their account was compromised, they can notify our team to secure the account and regain control," a YouTube spokesperson said.

ABS-CBN said earlier Tuesday that it was aware of the problem and was investigating it and working closely with YouTube to resolve it.

The two YouTube channels were restored by Tuesday afternoon.

Users trying to access both channels on Tuesday morning were greeted with a "404 Not Found" error page. Other users got notices that the accounts have been "terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service."

Prior to them being rendered inaccessible, both channels posted a livestream of cryptocurrency company Ripple hosting a giveaway.

Ripple has previously sued YouTube over its "inexplicable failure" at stopping scammers from impersonating it and its CEO, Brad Garlinghouse.

Tech news site The Verge reported in April that scammers have created official-sounding accounts for Ripple and Garlinghouse over the past several months, with some of these accounts apparently stolen from successful YouTubers.

Ripple said it has submitted around 350 complaints over impersonation or scamming, but YouTube has only "ignored or otherwise failed to address" many of them.

ABS-CBN's franchise woes

ABS-CBN has been largely livestreaming its news content on YouTube and Facebook after the House of Representatives’ legislative franchises committee denied its application for a fresh franchise.

Prior to this, the National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN’s TV and radio stations to go off air after the expiration of its 25-year franchise, going against the practice of allowing broadcast networks to continue operation while a fresh franchise is being deliberated in Congress.

The regulatory body sealed the deal for ABS-CBN in September, when it recalled the media giant’s frequencies.

With ABS-CBN’s finances bleeding following the shutdown and the House’s refusal to grant it a new franchise, it was forced to close down several divisions of its news arm, including the Regional Network Group, which served communities through 21 regional stations.

The void left by ABS-CBN, particularly its regional stations, was highlighted during the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni), which left at least 16 people dead and thousands more affected.

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay, for one, noted how ABS-CBN’s closure “left a noticeable void that has yet to be filled by the other networks.”

Still, Malacañang claimed there was no communication vacuum, citing the work of state and private media amid the onslaught of Rolly to provide public service information.

ABS-CBN has since made a partial return to free TV through its blocktime arrangement with Zoe TV, but no news programs are being aired there yet.

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