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Video: Deep Fakes and Democracy

The threat that the upcoming general elections will be deep fake elections is palpable. Leveraging deep fakes to spread false narratives about candidates, manipulate voter perceptions, and potentially influence election outcomes presents a chilling prospect. The case of a candidate using deep fakes to release a campaign video in a different language serves as a testament to the potential of this technology – both constructive and destructive. There is also the question of whether the use of deep fakes for satirical purposes constitutes disinformation or not.

To make sense of all of this and the technical aspects of curbing deep fakes, MediaNama conducted a virtual discussion on January 17, 2024. In this discussion, we sought answers to questions like: Are the IT Rules sufficient to curb deep fakes or is there a need for modification or addition to the existing regulations? Is it feasible for platforms to take down deep fakes on a large scale? Does the Election Commission of India have the technical skill and manpower necessary to take down election-related deep fakes? This discussion sought to address how a combination of technological and regulatory approaches could be used to tackle the challenges posed by deep fakes.

The video for the panel discussion is available below:



We saw participation from organizations like:

We had 276 registrations for this discussion. We saw attendees from The Quantum Hub, Apollo247, COAI, Thompson Reuters, Ikigai Law, Access Now, Truecaller, SLFC, Outlook, Meta, ShareChat, NDTV, EGaming Federation, Chase India, The Caravan, the Hindu and more.

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What we discussed:

  1. Has there been enough deep fake activity in the recent state elections? What is the quality of the deep fakes that we’re seeing, and how has the response been to them? What’s the current environment of deep fakes like?
  2. Is there a legitimate use case for deep fakes in elections? Or should they be outlawed altogether?
  3. What is the capability of political parties to generate deep fakes? What are their dissemination networks like?
  4. How does safe harbor play out in case of deep fakes? Can platforms lose their immunity if deep fake content is posted by users on their service?
  5. What are the challenges with the attribution of deep fakes or even fake news on the Internet?
  6. Is there a need for the consumer app-level detection of deep fakes? If AI companies get together to create a self-regulation code on deep fakes, what should this code look like?
  7. How can the spread of deep fakes be curbed on end-to-end encrypted platforms like WhatsApp?

Next up, we will be publishing stories from this discussion on our website, so stay tuned for that. You can sign up for our free daily newsletter to stay updated with our latest stories.

If you’d like to sponsor future discussions at MediaNama, do reach out to us here.

MediaNama hosted this discussion with support from Meta and Google. 

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