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India government issues advisory to combat deepfakes on social media platforms

The Indian government issued an advisory to all social media platforms operating within the country on Tuesday in response to escalating concerns around the detrimental impact of deepfakes. The primary objective of the advisory is to ensure strict adherence to the existing Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and to proactively combat the dissemination of misinformation fueled by artificial intelligence.

This governmental initiative comes on the heels of a viral manipulated video featuring actress Rashmika Mandanna, who publicly denounced the fraudulent content. Subsequently, Delhi police arrested four individuals in connection with the incident.

While the IT Rules, initially notified in October 2022 and subsequently amended in April, already delineate 11 categories of prohibited content that platforms operating in India are responsible for removing, the new advisory specifically underscores the threat posed by deepfakes. It urges platforms to prioritize their detection and removal.

In November, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced plans to formulate regulations specifically targeting deepfakes. However, no concrete draft has been presented. In the interim, the government said that amendments to the IT Rules would be apply “if and when required,” and the IT Ministry refrained from sharing the complete advisory sent to platforms.

The advisory, issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concern about the perils of deepfakes in November. It underscores the imperative for intermediaries, encompassing social media and digital platforms, to transparently communicate content prohibited under the IT Rules to their users. This prohibition includes content related to national security, public order, terrorism, obscenity, hate speech and content involving impersonation through deepfakes.

The advisory mandates platforms to exert “reasonable efforts” to prevent the upload, sharing and dissemination of such harmful content. This entails the development of effective technological solutions for detecting and removing deepfakes, establishing robust grievance redressal mechanisms, and actively collaborating with law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting the misuse of this technology.

The government’s proactive stance is driven by escalating concerns about the potential misuse of deepfakes to spread misinformation, incite violence, manipulate public opinion and tarnish reputations. Sophisticated deepfake videos have been utilized to impersonate celebrities, politicians and public figures, often with malicious intent.

Article: India government issues advisory to combat deepfakes on social media platforms

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