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Govt to discuss deepfake issue with social media companies

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI)-led misinformation, the Centre will discuss the growing issue of deepfakes with social media companies over two meetings.

On November 23, Information Technology (IT) Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will chair a meeting with them, and a day later, on November 24, Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar will discuss the issue with the platforms.

During the meetings, the government is expected to share a standard operating procedure with the companies on how they should deal with deepfakes on their platforms. Executives from Meta and Google are expected to attend.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it’s important to understand how artificial intelligence (AI) works as it could be used to create deepfakes to purposefully spread false information or have malicious intent behind their use.

A deepfake is a video of a person in which the face or body has been digitally altered so that he or she appears to be someone else, typically used to spread false information. Mostly, a controversy erupted after a video of actress Rashmika Mandanna entering an elevator went viral on social media. What initially appeared genuine was, in fact, a deepfake of the actress.

The original video featured a British Indian person, and their face was morphed to insert Mandanna’s face instead. Not only this, there has been a surge of deepfake audios and videos of political leaders on platforms like Instagram.

“In the next three-four days, we will have a meeting with all platforms. We will brainstorm on that (deepfake), and make sure that platforms make adequate efforts for preventing, avoiding, cleaning up their platforms,” Vaishnaw said on November 18.

Earlier this month, the IT Ministry had also sent advisories to social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to take down deepfakes.

The advisory had reiterated existing legal provisions that platforms have to follow as online intermediaries. It has mentioned Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, which entails punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resources with imprisonment up to three years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh.

The advisory also mentioned Rule 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology Rules, under which social media platforms are required to take down content in the nature of impersonation, including artificially morphed images of an individual. Indian Express

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