In a recent development, the Delhi Police announced the arrest of the main culprit behind a deepfake video featuring popular actor Rashmika Mandanna. This incident, the first of its kind, triggered a series of investigations into similar deepfake videos involving celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Kajol, and Sachin Tendulkar.
The deepfake, a disturbingly realistic manipulation of Rashmika Mandanna’s face onto a video of British influencer Zara Patel, underscored the vulnerabilities individuals face due to the misuse of technology. Ms. Mandanna expressed her dismay, describing the ordeal as “extremely scary.” This incident prompted the Centre to issue an advisory to social media platforms, emphasizing the legal provisions covering deepfakes and the potential penalties associated with their creation and circulation.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar took an active role in addressing the issue by meeting with social media platforms. He asserted that advisories would be issued to ensure 100% compliance in combating misinformation and deepfakes. This proactive approach signals a commitment to curbing the challenges posed by misleading content online.
The aftermath of Rashmika Mandanna’s deepfake also led to Mumbai Cyber Police registering an FIR against a gaming app that morphed a video of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin, taking to social media, clarified that the video urging his followers to play games on the app was false. He emphasized the need for social media platforms to be alert and responsive to complaints, calling for swift action to halt the spread of misinformation and fake news.
Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reinforced the government’s stance on combating deepfakes, stating that notices were sent to all social media companies directing them to take necessary steps to identify and remove disinformation. Addressing the ‘Safe Harbour’ Clause, he highlighted that platforms must take adequate steps to remove deepfakes for the clause to apply, indicating a move toward holding platforms accountable for the content on their platforms.
In December, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar met with social media platforms to review their progress in tackling misinformation and deepfakes. The government’s commitment to issuing advisories for 100% compliance, coupled with notices sent to social media companies, reflects a multi-faceted strategy to combat the rampant misuse of technology.
As technology continues to advance, so do the challenges associated with its misuse. India’s swift response to the deepfake incidents showcases a proactive approach toward safeguarding individuals and combating the spread of misinformation in the digital age. The ongoing collaboration between the government, law enforcement, and social media platforms is essential in creating a safer online environment for all.