Govt warns social media platforms after Rashmika Mandanna deepfake video goes viral

The IT Minister has issued a stark warning to social media platforms after a deep fake video featuring actress Rashmika Mandanna raised concerns about online identity theft and misinformation.

| Updated on: Nov 06 2023, 17:12 IST
deepfake video
IT Minister warns of legal consequences for deepfakes as Rashmika Mandanna's deepfake video stirs concerns. (AFP)
deepfake video
IT Minister warns of legal consequences for deepfakes as Rashmika Mandanna's deepfake video stirs concerns. (AFP)

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has issued a stern warning to social media platforms today, emphasising their legal obligations in the fight against deepfakes and all other forms of misinformation. The trigger for his message was the shocking actress Rashmika Mandanna deepfake video that went viral. Originally, the video showcased Zara Patel, a British-Indian influencer, but it had been manipulated to replace her face with Rashmika Mandanna using deepfake technology.

Legal Consequences for Non-Compliance

In a tweet, Chandrasekhar stated, "PM @narendramodi ji's Govt is committed to ensuring Safety and Trust of all Digital Nagriks using Internet," and outlined the legal responsibilities that social media platforms must uphold under the IT rules.

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As per the IT rules established in April 2023, it is mandatory for these platforms to prevent the dissemination of misinformation by users and to promptly remove such content when reported by either users or the government.

Failure to adhere to these rules can lead to legal action, as per the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, warned the minister. He emphasised that deep fakes, which involve the use of AI to alter photos or videos, have become a concerning source of misinformation and need to be addressed by these platforms.

Deepfakes have gained notoriety as a tool for generating fake viral content, and the incident involving Zara Patel and Rashmika Mandanna highlights the potential harm they can cause.

Patel, a popular Instagram influencer with a massive following, shared a video last month in which she was seen entering an elevator wearing a black outfit. To the shock of her audience, her face had been changed to that of Rashmika Mandanna as she entered the lift.

Responding to the viral deepfake video, Rashmika Mandanna, known for her roles in films like "Pushpa" and "Varisu," expressed her deep concern about the misuse of technology.

In a heartfelt post on X , Mandanna said, "I feel really hurt to share this and have to talk about the deepfake video of me being spread online. Something like this is honestly, extremely scary not only for me, but also for each one of us who today is vulnerable to so much harm because of how technology is being misused."

Mandanna extended her gratitude to her family, friends, and well-wishers for their unwavering support and protection. She also noted that if a similar incident had occurred during her school or college days, it would have been extremely challenging to handle.

"Today, as a woman and as an actor, I am thankful for my family, friends, and well-wishers who are my protection and support system. But if this happened to me when I was in school or college, I genuinely can't imagine how could I ever tackle this. We need to address this as a community and with urgency before more of us are affected by such identity theft," she further emphasised.

What is Deepfakes: AI-Generated Fake Content

Deepfakes employ technology, including AI, machine learning, deep neural networks, and more, to craft convincingly fake images and videos. They mimic real individuals, creating fictional photos, morphed videos, and 'voice clones.' In a report, the Washington Post revealed, "...deepfakes are accomplished using a form of AI. An algorithm is trained to recognize patterns in real video recordings of a particular person, a process known as deep learning."

Deepfakes swap faces of the victims or create entirely fabricated content, making it appear as if someone is doing or saying things they never did. In fact, you can insert the face and body of the victim in any video, even those of popular films and shows. The technology maps the person from all possible angles and then super-imposes them into film or video clip. The technology is easily accessible through various apps available on app stores and even some portals.


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First Published Date: 06 Nov, 17:12 IST