In a proactive move to counter the escalating menace of deepfakes, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & IT, has issued directives to major social media platforms. The minister is urging swift action to pinpoint and eradicate deceptive content from their platforms.
According to a recent report, Minister Vaishnaw underscored the seriousness of the situation, emphasizing that deepfakes present a formidable challenge for all stakeholders involved. “We have recently issued notifications to major social media platforms, instructing them to actively identify and eliminate deepfake content. While they are taking initial steps, we have urged them to intensify their efforts,” stated Minister Vaishnaw.
In a noteworthy policy shift, Vaishnaw pointed out that the ‘Safe Harbour’ Clause, which previously shielded social media platforms, may no longer be applicable if adequate measures against deepfakes are not taken. “It’s crucial to note that the ‘Safe Harbour’ Clause enjoyed by most social media platforms does not apply if they fail to take sufficient measures to eradicate deepfakes from their platforms,” added the minister.
Simultaneously, the Delhi Police has taken action by reaching out to Meta, seeking the URL of the account responsible for sharing a ‘deepfake’ video featuring actress Rashmika Mandanna on social media. This follows the filing of an FIR by the city police in connection with the incident.
Deepfake videos involve the use of synthetic media, where an individual in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness. Hemant Tiwari, DCP of the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit, stated that the police have requested information about individuals who shared the fabricated video on social media. “We have written to Meta to access the URL ID of the account from which the video was generated. We have also initiated technical analysis,” said the Deputy Commissioner of Police.
An FIR in the matter has been registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act. The complaint was lodged by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), which took suo-moto cognizance of the deepfake video featuring the Indian actress.
A dedicated team of officers has been formed to investigate the case, with authorities expressing confidence that it will be resolved expeditiously. The deepfake video, suspected to involve Artificial Intelligence, gained widespread attention on social media, with the original video purportedly belonging to a British-Indian influencer, edited to feature Rashmika Mandanna’s face.