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Indian Government to Discuss Deepfake Regulations with Social Media Giants

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw talks of meeting with social media platform representatives in near future to address deepfake concerns.

What’s the News: The Indian government intends to set up a discussion with social media platforms in coming days to talk about possible preventive measures against the issue of deepfakes, said Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on November 18, 2023 as per a PTI report.

During a press conference, Vaishnaw said that after sending orders to social media platforms, the government is working on arranging a meeting with company representatives to think of more steps required to address the problem of deepfakes. Vaishnaw on Saturday said that concerned government/non-government officials will meet in the next 3-4 days “for brainstorming.” He also added that safe harbor immunity will not apply to platforms if they fail to take the adequate measures to remove deepfakes from their platforms.

What is a deepfake? A deepfake is a type of media content where a person’s image or voice is replaced with someone else’s likeness, using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques. This technology can create highly realistic, but fake, videos or audio recordings, often used for entertainment, misinformation, or parody.

Previously, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) sent advisories to the platforms stressing that failure to remove deepfake content within 24 hours “could render the organisation liable to losing the protection available under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.” This announcement from the Ministry came a day after deepfakes of actress Rashmika Mandanna went viral on social media.

Prime Minister also raises deepfake concerns: On November 17, 2023 Prime Minister Narendra Modi also raised concerns about AI technology that created deepfake content. He claimed seeing a video where deepfake technology was used to show him playing garba. Referring to this alleged example, Modi said that deepfake and AI have become a point of concern and that it is important to understand the consequences of the rampant use of such technologies. He even suggested that platforms that help in creating such deepfake content should add a disclaimer in the photo/video/ media-piece stating that deepfake or similar AI technology has been used to create the content.

It may be noted that on November 9, BoomLive had already fact-checked the video and stated that the person appearing as Modi in the garba video was a look-alike of the Prime Minister named Vikas Mahante.

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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