Government Firm with Social Media Platforms over Deepfake Concerns

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In a determined move, the government engaged once more with social media platforms to assess their progress in combatting the deepfake predicament, as per undisclosed sources.

During this meeting, platforms were explicitly reminded that the 11 outlined “user harms” or violations under IT regulations directly correlate to relevant statutes within the Indian Penal Code (IPC), signifying potential criminal repercussions under existing laws.

This reiteration comes subsequent to the meeting on November 24, where Minister of State for IT and Electronics, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, set a seven-day ultimatum for social media entities to take resolute action against deepfakes and align their usage terms in accordance with IT regulations.

Sources revealed that a follow-up session occurred on Tuesday to evaluate the progress achieved since the November 24 meeting. While some platforms have promptly complied, others deemed “slow” in their response have been granted an extension.

The government stressed its unwavering commitment to a “zero tolerance approach” towards user harm. Although many platforms swiftly grasped the necessary steps, some exhibited sluggishness, prompting the government’s firm stance.

Another comprehensive meeting with platforms to reassess the situation is scheduled in a week’s time. The existing IT regulations mandate platforms to confront harm and ensure users are well-informed about lawful and unlawful practices. The responsibility to guarantee this lies squarely on the platforms themselves.

In the recent meeting, platforms were explicitly informed about the criminal ramifications tied to such user harms, even within the current legal framework. For instance, criminal prosecution for deepfakes can be pursued under relevant sections in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC), such as “forgery,” mirroring analogous provisions within the IPC for other forms of harm.

“We’ve communicated a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to platforms ignoring harm. While we’ve extended time for slower responders, there’s no signal of a softened stance in our commitment to safeguarding the internet for all Indians,” stated a source familiar with the matter.

The government plans to review in seven days whether advisories will suffice or if more stringent rules, potentially addressing enforcement and deterring platform abuse, need to be instituted.

The term “deepfakes” encompasses digitally manipulated media employing artificial intelligence to convincingly misrepresent individuals, an issue exacerbated by recent viral videos targeting prominent figures, prompting public outrage and concerns over technology misuse for fabricating false narratives.

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