Rashmika Mandanna Deepfake: Govt cracks the whip on social media platforms
The Narendra Modi government has issued guidelines to address the identification and removal of such misleading content. The guidelines require social media companies to promptly identify and remove deepfake videos within 36 hours, in compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules of 2021.
Substantial concerns have been raised about the alarming rate at which deepfake videos have been surfacing on social media platforms, prompting the Indian government to take resolute measures in response. The issue came to the forefront following the circulation of a deepfake video featuring popular actress Rashmika Mandanna. This incident ignited widespread discussions and debates, shedding light on the potential misuse of such deceptive content.
In reaction to the growing predicament, the central government has taken a proactive stance by issuing comprehensive guidelines aimed at addressing the identification and removal of misleading and deepfake videos for social media companies.
Identification of Deepfake Videos
The government has laid down a directive that obliges social media companies to promptly and diligently identify misleading and deepfake videos. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has underscored the urgency of swift action, emphasizing the timeframe delineated in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules of 2021.
Prompt Removal Within 36 Hours
The guidelines delineate a strict requirement that content categorized as misleading or deepfake must be removed within 36 hours of its posting. A significant warning accompanies these directives: failure to adhere to these regulations, as enshrined in the Information Technology Act and its associated rules, may lead to legal repercussions under Rule 7 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules of 2021. Such non-compliance also carries the risk of forfeiting the protections offered under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act.
Government's Major Guidelines
The guidelines furnished to social media companies encompass several pivotal aspects:
Vigilance and Identification: Companies are strongly urged to exercise due diligence and implement measures to identify false information and deepfake content, especially content that contravenes established rules, regulations, and user agreements.
Timely Action: Swift action is imperative within the prescribed timeframe as specified by the IT Rules of 2021.
User Responsibility: Users are explicitly directed not to host or promote any misleading or deepfake content.
Reporting Mechanism: Social media platforms should promptly remove any such content reported by users within 36 hours.
Compliance and Accountability: Social media intermediaries are reminded of the potential consequences of failure to adhere to the relevant provisions of the Information Technology Act and Rules. This failure may lead to punitive actions pursuant to Rule 7 of the IT Rules of 2021, and could potentially result in the loss of protections provided under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act of 2000.
Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar expressed the government's unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and trust of digital citizens. Given the substantial challenges posed by misinformation and deepfakes, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued a second advisory within the past six months, urging online platforms to take decisive actions against the proliferation of deepfake content.
The government's proactive stance in addressing the deepfake issue underscores the paramount importance of combatting misinformation and safeguarding the integrity of content shared on social media platforms. These measures are designed to protect both the public and the digital ecosystem from the potential harm caused by misleading and deepfake content. This decisive response aims to maintain trust and security in the digital realm while countering the proliferation of deceptive and manipulated content.