IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Urges Social Media Platforms to Combat Deepfakes with New Regulations

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Communications and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has called upon all social media platforms to submit their action plans within the next 10 days to tackle the rising threat of deepfakes and the misuse of AI-generated technologies. After a meeting with major platforms, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Telegram, industry body Nasscom, and AI academicians, the minister emphasized that the government would incorporate their insights to formulate new regulations, potentially imposing penalties on both creators and platforms hosting deepfakes.

The platforms have been directed to outline their plans focusing on four key areas: detecting deepfakes and misinformation, preventing the spread of misinformation, strengthening reporting mechanisms, and enhancing awareness. Following the submission of these action plans, another round of meetings will be conducted with the platforms, ensuring a consultative approach in framing regulations. Vaishnaw mentioned that the government could introduce regulations in the form of new rules, laws, or amendments to existing rules.

The proposed regulations are expected to include penalties for individuals uploading or creating deepfakes. There may also be provisions to help users distinguish between deepfakes and original content, emphasizing the importance of transparency. Addressing concerns raised during the meeting, Vaishnaw acknowledged discussions on the use of AI-generated deepfakes in advertisements and deliberations on whether apps creating deepfakes should be restricted or subjected to some form of control.

Deepfake technology, powered by artificial intelligence, convincingly impersonates the voice and face of real individuals, making it challenging to discern its authenticity. The issue gained prominence recently when actor Rashmika Mandanna’s face was manipulated in a compromising video. Other celebrities, including Katrina Kaif and Kajol, have also reportedly fallen victim to deepfakes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a warning about the threats posed by deepfakes last week. In a bid to hold social media platforms accountable, Minister Vaishnaw had previously cautioned that they risk losing the immunity granted under the safe harbor clause if they fail to take effective measures against deepfakes. The clause currently shields online platforms from accountability for user-generated content.

Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, is scheduled to hold another round of meetings with social media platforms on Friday to further address the challenges posed by deepfake technology.

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