Govt asks X, Meta to remove AI-driven deepfakes

The Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) has issued an advisory to social media platforms such as X (formerly, Twitter) and Meta to remove artificial intelligence (AI)-generated deepfakes from their platforms, a top official said.

“We came up with a new advisory to the social media intermediaries. The advisory says that when you offer an AI product, you have to be careful not to give half-developed products which are subject to hallucination or putting out things which are inaccurate,” S Krishnan told ET.

The official said that the social media companies must remove such “deepfakes” posts from their platforms as soon as it comes to one’s notice.

Further, Krishnan said deep fakes are a misrepresentation, and any such abuse, according to him, is already covered under the IT Act and Rules.

Rule 2(1)(w) of the IT Rules 2021 define a “social media intermediary” as an intermediary, primarily or solely enables online interaction between two or more users and allows them to create, upload, share, disseminate, modify or access information using its services.

Deepfakes are a manipulation of a person’s facial appearance through deep generative methods, backed by AI including imaging and voice rendering techniques.

“A deepfake is nothing but a misrepresentation applying new and better technology. The important thing is to act quickly and see that this misrepresentation is immediately straightened out so that it doesn’t spread too fast.”

Following the absence of a regulatory regime worldwide, deepfake or misinformation has become one of nightmares, calling for a responsible use of AI.

In December last year, the ministry issued a similar advisory to social media giants such as Mark Zuckerberg-headed Meta, Elon Musk-owned X and Alphabet’s Google asking them to take down deepfakes.

It also instructed intermediaries to ensure compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called deepfakes “one of the biggest threats” that the Indian system was facing, and added that the menace could cause chaos in society.

Following the upcoming Lok Sabha elections this year, the matter gained much notoriety with concerns centred around social networking platforms channelising higher volumes of deepfakes by malicious actors, misrepresenting public figures or lawmakers to gain political mileage.

Early this month, a deepfake of Indian billionaire and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani was circulated, using AI voice cloning technology to promote a stock market community.

While regulators and law enforcement agencies are struggling to cope with the rise of AI-generated disinformation, social activists worry that such may pose a threat to civil society.

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