New Delhi, November 6, 2023 – Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has issued a stern reminder to social media platforms regarding their legal responsibilities in the battle against misinformation, citing a viral deepfake video featuring popular actor Rashmika Mandanna. Originally, the video showcased Zara Patel, a British-Indian influencer, but her face was cleverly altered to resemble the actor in a convincing deepfake transformation.
In a tweet posted on the X platform (formerly known as Twitter), Mr. Chandrasekhar emphasized the Indian government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and trust of all digital citizens using the internet. He also highlighted the legal obligations imposed on social media platforms under the Information Technology (IT) rules, which were notified in April 2023. According to these regulations, platforms are legally obliged to prevent the dissemination of misinformation by users and promptly remove such content when reported by users or the government.
Furthermore, the minister warned that non-compliance by these platforms could lead to legal action, with aggrieved individuals able to pursue cases against them under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Chandrasekhar underscored the increasing threat of deepfakes, describing them as the latest and most perilous form of misinformation that necessitates urgent attention from online platforms.
Deepfakes involve the use of artificial intelligence to manipulate photos or videos, replacing individuals or elements in the content. In recent times, they have emerged as a significant source of misinformation, often linked to the spread of fake viral posts.
In the case at hand, Zara Patel, an influencer with over 400,000 followers on Instagram, had shared a video last month that depicted her entering an elevator while wearing a black outfit. Shockingly, her face rapidly transformed into that of Rashmika Mandanna as she entered the lift. In response to the deepfake, Mandanna posted a statement on the X platform, stressing the urgency of addressing this issue to prevent further incidents of identity theft.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the growing threat posed by deepfakes and the need for social media platforms to be proactive in combating this dangerous form of misinformation. Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s message reinforces the government’s commitment to upholding the digital safety and trust of all citizens in the online realm.