Two 18-year-old French citizens have been arrested in Paris and charged with crimes related to the hack of Vevo’s YouTube accounts last month that resulted in pro-Palestine messages being posted on several popular videos, according to prosecutors.
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office identified the two suspects as “Nassim B.” and “Gabriel K.A.B.,” also known by their respective online handles of “Prosox” and “Kuroi’ish.”
Authorities allege the duo gained access to the YouTube account maintained by Vevo, to alter the content of multiple music videos, including Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” — the most-viewed music video on YouTube in 2017, which recently surpassed 5 billion views. The hackers also targeted videos by Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Chris Brown and Shakira, replacing their thumbnail images, video titles and descriptions. Vevo has since removed all changes the hackers made on its YouTube videos.
The arrests and charges brought in the case were the result of a collaboration between the Paris Prosecutor’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York, where Vevo is based. Paris prosecutors charged Gabriel K.A.B. and with five criminal counts and Nassim B. with six counts, including “fraudulently modifying data contained in an automated data processing system.”
Separately, this week Vevo announced that it will shut down its mobile apps and consumer-facing website, in order to focus on video distribution on YouTube. Vevo’s majority owners are Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, with minority stakes held by Alphabet, parent company of Google and YouTube, and Abu Dhabi Media.