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Will hold meets with social media platforms to discuss deepfakes: IT minister Vaishnaw

Nov 19, 2023 04:52 AM IST

In response to a question about whether the platforms had the technology to spot and take down deepfakes, Vaishnaw said, “I think they should be able to do it.”

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) intends to call social media platforms in the next few days to brainstorm over tackling deepfakes, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Saturday.

Union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. (File Photo)

Read here: Amid Rashmika Mandanna row, PM Modi speaks up on ‘deepfake' videos: ‘Misuse of AI problematic’

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“We had given notices to all the platforms, all the platforms have responded. They are taking their own steps but we think that many more steps will have to be taken. We are very soon going to have a meeting of all the platforms. Maybe in the next 3-4 days we will call them. We will have a brainstorming on that and we will make sure that platforms make adequate efforts for preventing, avoiding and cleaning up their platforms,” he said.

A day after a viral fake video of Telugu actor Rashmika Mandanna sparked concerns about the misuse of artificial intelligence and its potential to further gender violence online, the IT ministry had sent two letters to all social media platforms reminding them of their responsibility to weed out misinformation and deepfakes as mandated by Indian law, HT had reported earlier.

“Most important is that the immunity which the platforms have, the globally accepted safe harbour provision, that will not be applicable if the platforms do not make adequate efforts [to control deepfakes],” Vaishnaw said. To be sure, only courts can determine if an intermediary can lose its safe harbour protection and subsequently hold it liable for third-party content.

In response to a question about whether the platforms had the technology to spot and take down deepfakes, Vaishnaw said, “I think they should be able to do it.”

In the February advisory on deepfakes, which was reiterated by the IT ministry in the two letters, the ministry had also asked social media platforms to “put in place appropriate technology and processes for identifying information that may violate the provisions of rules and regulations or user agreement”.

In the last one week alone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar, information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant have highlighted the dangers of deepfake technology.

Read here: PM raises concerns over tech misuse, deepfakes

Addressing a gathering of media persons during a ‘Diwali Milan’ programme at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Delhi on Friday, Modi had said, “A new crisis is emerging due to deepfakes produced through artificial intelligence. There is a very big section of society which does not have a parallel verification system… This [deepfake] will take us to grave danger and has the potential to spread the fire of dissatisfaction.”

“We should educate people through our programmes, about what deepfake is, how big a crisis it can cause and what its impact can be,” Modi said. He said that like cigarettes come with warnings, deepfakes should also come with disclosures.

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