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Center gives 7-day deadline to social media platforms to deal with deepfakes

By Vipin - November 24, 2023 05:21 PM

The Indian government has given social media platforms a seven-day deadline to update their policies in accordance with Indian regulations in order to combat the spread of deepfakes on their platforms. Deepfakes could be subject to action under the current IT Rules, particularly Rule 3(1)(b), which requires the removal of 12 types of content within 24 hours of receiving user complaints, according to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, as per a report in news agency IANS.

The government will also take action against 100 percent of such violations under the IT Rules in the future. “They are further mandated to remove such content within 24 hours upon receiving a report from either a user or government authority. Failure to comply with this requirement invokes Rule 7, which empowers aggrieved individuals to take platforms to court under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),” the minister said.

“For those who find themselves impacted by deepfakes, I strongly encourage you to file First Information Reports (FIRs) at your nearest police station,” said Chandrasekhar, adding that the IT Ministry will help aggrieved users in filing FIRs in relation to deepfakes.

What Is Deepfake

A deepfake is a type of synthetic media that uses artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content, often with a malicious motive, to appear authentic. According to MIT, the term "deepfake" first emerged in late 2017 when a Reddit user with the same name created a platform on the online news and aggregation site to share pornographic videos generated using open-source face-swapping technology. Deepfake uses a form of AI called deep learning to make images or videos of fake events.

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Deepfakes, a potent blend of real and fabricated media, have emerged as a formidable threat to public trust and truth. By creating convincing videos and audio recordings of people saying or doing things they never did, deepfakes can manipulate public perception, spread misinformation, and tarnish reputations.

In the hands of cybercriminals, deepfakes become dangerous weapons that can disrupt and destroy businesses and governments. A fabricated video of a company's top executive or a top politician can have serious repercussions on a company or a country's reputation.

Over the years, we have witnessed many such instances of deepfake videos that went viral on social media. Most recently, actor Rashmika Mananna was a victim of a viral deepfake video, sparking serious concerns over the misuse of the technology which resulted in the Indian government drawing plans to tackle the menace.

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Generating deepfakes often involves utilizing deep neural networks and a face-swapping technique. A target video acts as the bedrock of the deepfake, while a collection of video clips showcasing the desired individual is amassed. The exponential growth of artificial intelligence has also triggered a concerning rise in deepfake pornography, where hyperrealistic images and videos can be produced with minimal effort and expenditure.

Cenre Mulling Regulations To Stop Spread Of Deepfakes

India is mulling regulations to tame the spread of deepfakes and other user harm that artificial intelligence (AI) can bring along, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday. After meeting representatives from large social media platforms and other stakeholders, the minister said India will draft new rules to spot and limit the spread of fake news. The new regulation will also strengthen the reporting process for such deep-fake videos.

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“The social media companies share our concerns and they understand that deepfakes are not free speech. They understand the need for regulation for this and we will start drafting the regulation,” said Vaishnaw. “We need urgent steps to strengthen trust in society and to protect our democracy from deepfakes,” Vaishnaw added.

The Minister is expected to meet social media companies again on this burning topic next month. The new regulation will also focus on strengthening the reporting mechanisms for individuals to report such videos and on proactive and timely actions by social media companies, said Vaishnaw.

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Vipin Kumar

Mr. Vipin Kumar