The Indian government has issued a reminder to social media platforms regarding deepfake videos following the recent viral incident involving a video falsely attributed to actor Rashmika Mandanna. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has emphasized the legal provisions that pertain to deepfake creation and distribution, along with the potential penalties involved.
The advisory cites Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which deals with ‘punishment for cheating by personation using a computer resource.’ It states that individuals who use any communication device or computer resource for cheating through personation could face imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
This advisory comes in response to the widely circulated deepfake video that initially appeared to feature Rashmika Mandanna but was later revealed to be manipulated content using the face of British-Indian influencer Zara Patel. The incident has raised concerns about the potential harm and legal consequences faced by public figures whose images are manipulated in such a manner.
Actor Rashmika Mandanna expressed her concern, labeling the episode as “extremely scary” due to the misuse of technology and its potential harm to individuals. Various voices from the film industry, including legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, have called for legal action in response to such incidents.
Rajeev Chandrsekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring safety and trust in digital spaces. He highlighted the legal obligations of platforms to remove misinformation within 36 hours when reported by users or the government, as per the IT rules enacted in April 2023. Failure to comply can result in legal action under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Deepfakes are seen as a particularly dangerous form of misinformation that needs to be addressed by digital platforms to ensure a safe and trusted internet.
Minister Chandrsekhar used hashtags such as “SafeTrustedInternet,” “Accountable,” and “DigitalIndia” to emphasize the importance of addressing the issue.
The video, however, can still be seen on social media platforms.