ABS-CBN Newsâ YouTube channels hacked, reinstated
“We are aware of the problem of accessing ABS-CBN News channels on YouTube,” the media company said in a statement yesterday morning.
AFP/Maria Tan

ABS-CBN News’ YouTube channels hacked, reinstated

Helen Flores, Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The YouTube channels of ABS-CBN News and ABS-CBN News Channel were briefly taken down from the video-sharing platform yesterday after they were hacked by still unidentified parties, but were restored hours after the channels were labeled “terminated” for supposed violation of the platform’s policies.

“We are aware of the problem of accessing ABS-CBN News channels on YouTube,” the media company said in a statement yesterday morning.

“We are currently working with YouTube to resolve the problem,” it added.

TeleRadyo, another YouTube channel of ABS-CBN News, was not affected by the incident and continued to stream content from the media organization.

“In the meantime, you can catch our livestreams and news reports on the TeleRadyo channel. Thank you for your patience and understanding,” the network said.

The ABS-CBN News channels were inaccessible on YouTube from around 6:30 a.m. yesterday until around 4 p.m. also yesterday.

Viewers of the sites were met with the message “Video unavailable: This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.”

Screenshots that circulated early yesterday showed the ABS-CBN News YouTube streaming a video about BitCoin, indicating that it was hacked.

Netizens called on YouTube to “reinstate” the ABS-CBN News channels.

Twitter user @JocelynSoriano said “this is where were get news from the Philippines.”

Human rights activist Francis Baraan IV urged the public to “mass tag” YouTube and “get them to reinstate the ABS-CBN News channels.”

“You shut down ABS-CBN News Channel, but continue to keep the channels of fake news propagandist-peddlers, con artist and click-baiting charlatans and perennial liars,” Baraan said in a separate post on Twitter.

Another Twitter user @HaroldDenn claimed one of the reasons why YouTube took down the ABS-CBN News channels was that “they inserted ads to its contents to corner revenues.”

In a statement, YouTube said they take account security very seriously and notify account owners when they 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,” it added.

Both YouTube and ABS-CBN confirmed the hacking of the accounts, which supposedly happened on Nov. 2.

Google, which owns YouTube, has a security check-up feature that encourages account owners to enable two-factor authentication that decreases the risk of hacking.

Last September, the websites of ABS-CBN and GMA Network became briefly inaccessible. It was also in the same month that the National Telecommunications Commission recalled all frequencies and channels assigned to the Lopez-owned television network.

In a statement at the time, ABS-CBN said the issue was due to a technical problem.

Last July, the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchise denied ABS-CBN’s application for a franchise renewal.

Following its shutdown, ABS-CBN continued to air its programs through digital and cable platforms.

As of yesterday, ABS-CBN News has 10.6 million subscribers on YouTube.

The media network later signed a blocktime agreement with Zoe network to air some of its entertainment programs over the newly rebranded A2Z Channel 11.

After its news channels on YouTube were restored, ABS-CBN said the investigation of the incidents continue and that they have implemented measures to prevent them from happening again.

“ABS-CBN remains committed to provide news and information to our countrymen, particularly in these trying times as we recover from the effects of Super Typhoon Rolly and prepare for another incoming weather disturbance,” the network said. – Pia Lee Brago

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