The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued an advisory to social media firms on 7 November over misinformation and deepfake content on their platforms, following the social media uproar over a viral deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandanna.
The advisory sent to social media companies states that the latter are legally obliged under IT Act 2000 and IT Rules 2021, to to prevent the spread of misinformation and remove such content from their platforms within 36 hours.
Union Minister of State for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that online platforms are legally obliged to prevent the spread of misinformation by any user under the Information Technology (IT) rules, 2021.
"They are further mandated to remove such content within 36 hours upon receiving a report from either a user or government authority. 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). It is imperative that platforms take proactive measures to combat this threat,” the advisory further stated.
Noting that Deepfakes are a major violation and harm women in particular, the minister added, "Given the significant challenges posed by misinformation and deepfakes, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued a second advisory within the last six months, calling upon online platforms to take decisive actions against the spread of deepfakes.”
The intermediaries were reminded that any failure to act as per the relevant provisions of the IT Act and Rules would attract legal action and could render the organisation liable to "losing the protection available under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000."
This came in the wake of the deepfake video apparently featuring actor Rashmika Mandanna going viral, causing several celebrities to express their concerns over the misuse of such technology. The original video was of a British-Indian influencer, Zara Patel.
Both, Mandanna and Patel, have responded to the issue with posts on social media.
After Bollywood actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, took to social media to raise concerns about this technology and its impact, Union Minister of State for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar took to X and stated that 'deepfakes are the latest and even more dangerous and damaging form of misinformation and need to be dealt with by (online) platforms'.
Earlier this year, the IT ministry had issued advisories to the chief compliance officers at social media platforms about the potential use of AI-generated deepfakes.