Users and platforms hosting deepfake content to be penalised under new law

The government’s action follows the viral spread of a deepfake video featuring actor Rashmika Mandanna on social media platforms.
Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses a press conference after meeting social media platforms on the 'deepfake' issue, in New Delhi, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (PTI)
Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses a press conference after meeting social media platforms on the 'deepfake' issue, in New Delhi, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Centre is planning to impose financial penalties on both the creators of deepfakes and the social media platforms where such fake content is hosted, Union telecom and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday, adding that the government will soon introduce a new legislation to curb the menace. On Thursday, the minister held a meeting with various stakeholders including AI companies and social media firms to thrash out ways to deal with the challenge.

“After meetings with social media companies, AI companies, industry body NASSCOM, and professors, we collectively concluded that we need to address this issue with very stringent rules. All of us agreed on four pillars: detection of deepfakes and misinformation, prevention of detected deepfakes and misinformation by removing or reducing their impact, strengthening reporting mechanisms, and increasing awareness,” he said.

The government’s action follows the viral spread of a deepfake video featuring actor Rashmika Mandanna on social media platforms. As the video went viral, many people, including Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan, sought legal action against those responsible for the criminal act. Then the government issued an advisory to all major social media companies in India against hosting contents that impersonate another person, and to promptly remove such content within 24 hours of receiving complaints.

Vaishnaw said the government will continue to engage with the stakeholders to monitor the progress. Another meeting will be held in December to assess the actions taken by the companies and decide what should be incorporated in the draft legislation.

Watermark for AI-generated content
The new regulations being considered will look at watermarking all AI-generated content, deepfake detection, and stringent rules for data bias as well as privacy

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