‘Misuse of AI problematic,’ says PM Modi amid surge in deepfake videos in India

‘Misuse of AI problematic,’ says PM Modi amid surge in deepfake videos in India

By: rahul adhikari&
November 17 2023

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‘Misuse of AI problematic,’ says PM Modi amid surge in deepfake videos in India

(Source: Adobe Stock/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has voiced his concerns about the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) and the proliferation of deepfakes on social media, labeling it as "problematic."

Addressing the media at Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Diwali Milan Programme in New Delhi on Friday, November 17, Modi revealed that he had instructed the ChatGPT team to flag deepfakes and issue warnings about such problematic content. He also urged the media to raise awareness about this issue.

The prime minister said, "I recently came across a video where I was portrayed as singing Garba songs. Even I marveled at how good the video was. There are many other such videos online.”

Modi's statement comes at a time when a surge in deepfake videos and photos involving Indian celebrities and cricketers is creating an uproar on social media. Bollywood figures like Rashmika Mandana and Kajol have been recent targets. At the same time, scammers used AI-generated videos of cricketers Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya to promote betting on Telegram channels.

Indian personalities aren’t the only ones targeted by deepfakes. Logically Facts has debunked several deepfake videos and photos featuring Elon Musk, Greta Thunberg, Ron DeSantis, Bella Hadid, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Spike in deepfakes targeting Indian personalities

In the first week of November, a deepfake video purportedly showing actor Rashmika Mandana entering an elevator in a black bodysuit went viral. Fact-checking organizations, including Logically Facts, pointed out that the original video featured British-Indian social media influencer Zara Patel.

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The video purporting to show Rashmika Mandanna earlier in November was a deepfake version of a video featuring British-Indian Zara Patel. (Source: X/Instagram/Modified by Logically Facts)

Mandanna, reacting to reports about the deepfake, expressed concerns over the technology's misuse. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan also spoke up about the incident and called for legal action. 

Shortly after this incident, Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif also fell victim to a deepfake when a still from her movie "Tiger 3" was digitally altered to depict her in revealing clothes.

Just a few days before Modi’s statement, a video manipulated using face-swapping AI software portrayed a U.K.-based fashion influencer as Bollywood actor Kajol, ostensibly changing clothes on camera, as reported by Logically Facts.

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Social media posts claim Bollywood actor Kajol shot a video of her changing clothes in front of the camera. (Source: Facebook/Instagram/Modified by Logically Facts)

In another such incident, a deepfake video of spiritual leader Sadhguru promoting a money-making game called "Aviator" also surfaced online. The video featured fabricated scenarios, including one with Amir, a man promising grand investment strategies to dupe unsuspecting users.

Amid this deepfake surge, a digitally manipulated image of former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s daughter, Sara, with current Indian batsman Shubman Gill surfaced on social media. In the original photo, Sara was pictured with her brother Arjun Tendulkar.

The Indian government’s response

Following Mandanna's deepfake incident in early November, Minister of State for Electronics & Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar reposted an X (formerly Twitter) post by a journalist calling out the digitally manipulated video. He emphasized the responsibility of social media platforms in addressing misinformation, especially in labeling deepfakes online.

“Deep fakes are the latest and even more dangerous and damaging form of misinformation and need to be dealt with by platforms,” (sic) Chandrasekhar wrote on the platform.

A day later, on November 7, the Union Ministry of Electronics & IT issued an advisory to social media intermediaries, urging them to identify and remove deepfake content within 36 hours of reporting.

The advisory stated that in case of a failure to act “according to the relevant provisions of the IT Act and Rules would attract Rule 7 of the IT Rules, 2021,” the organization could lose the protection available under Section 79(1) of the IT Act, 2000. 

In the advisory, Chandrasekhar said, “Failure to comply with this requirement invokes Rule 7, which empowers aggrieved individuals to take platforms to court under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Platforms must take proactive measures to combat this threat.”

“For those who find themselves impacted by deepfakes, I strongly encourage you to file First Information Reports (FIRs) at your nearest police station and avail the remedies provided under the Information Technology (IT) rules, 2021,” the press release further quoted Chandrasekhar as saying.

(Edited by Nitish Rampal)

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